About 100 people gathered in downtown Vancouver this afternoon to demand cheaper daycare and higher minimum wages.
BC Federation of Labour president Irene Lanzinger was among the speakers at the Poverty Free BC rally and called for a provincial poverty reduction plan.
Lanzinger says the government needs to increase minimum wage and welfare rates, implement $10 a day child care, put more funding into public education, social services, and social housing.
“Those are all things that we can and should do as a province and that help people who face these challenges of low wages and barriers to employment. That’s all part of a package that we should put together to make sure that everybody in our province has what they need to survive.”
Lanzinger also took aim at the province’s recent move to boost minimum wage by 50 cents, calling the amount negligible.
“The premier, when asked about this said, ‘we’re going to get people jobs,’ well there’s a number of problems with that, but one is that a job does not lift you out of poverty, there are 500,000 people who work for less than $15 an hour – even if they work full time they live in poverty. And people living on welfare sometimes face multiple barriers to getting a job.”
Lanzinger says one in five children live in poverty, and she questions why with that statistic alone that there is no plan in place.
She says welfare rates haven’t been raised for 10 years and that $610 a month, that is also meant for rent, is an impossible amount to survive on.