After months of disputes regarding funding with the City, former Coordinator of the Downtown Eastside Market is planning to sue the City.
Roland Clarke says he was forced to leave the Downtown Eastside Market after five years because he felt workers were being exploited.
Now just a few months after his resignation he and others from the market are taking the city to court.
“Here, right in the middle of Vancouver the City of Vancouver, our municipal government is responsible for paying slave wages to Market workers, it’s appalling.”
Clarke claims the city allegedly violated the Employment Standards Act by because it was technically acting as an employer, while paying workers less than minimum wage.
“They need to follow the law, they need to pay a proper wage. The province of British Columbia has minimum wage laws for a reason, because if they didn’t then everybody would do what the city is doing now, everybody would pay people $3 dollars an hour and say ‘Oh look they are volunteers’.”
He says Employment Law Strategies sent a letter of apparent violations to the city at the end of January this year.
The city says it has been supporting the market for five years with grants, but that the DTES Street Market Society sets hours and work schedules, along with honoraria or wage structure with volunteers and staff.
None of the claims have been proven in court.