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Challenges Labour Minister to deal with inequality facing working families

The B.C. Federation of Labour has challenged Olga Illich, the newly-appointed Minister of Labour, to deal with the growing inequality facing working families says President Jim Sinclair.

"Employment standards are the lowest in Canada and too many people are dying or are injured on the job," said Sinclair. "The new Minister has her work cut out for her. This government didn't need a new Labour Minister, it needs new policies to deal with the really difficult situation facing thousands of working people."

"Working people are sharing less and less in the benefits of economic activity. High living costs and no real growth in wages have wiped out disposable income. People cant afford to set aside any savings for their familys future," said Sinclair. "Its no wonder we have the highest levels of child poverty in Canada."

BCs working poor still face a $6/hour training wage and the minimum wage of $8/hour hasnt changed since 2001.

According to a survey conducted earlier this year by Ipsos Reid, 51 percent of British Columbians said they haven't benefited from the improving provincial economy, including 59 percent of those with an income under $40,000, which is close to BC's average income.

Sinclair added that one of the first tasks facing Illich is to immediately address serious problems at the Labour Board. "It was tough enough when the BC Liberals changed the Labour Code to favour employers," Sinclair said. "Now we face a significant backlog and delay created by an apparently deliberate shortage of skilled and knowledgeable staff. If BCs Labour Board doesnt work, then labour relations in BC wont work either."

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