employed but poor — what does it mean?
It means that two parents with children can both be working full-time earning the minimum wage and still struggle to make ends meet. Being employed does not guarantee a comfortable standard of living. If those parents are working the whole time, who takes care of the children? Who has time to cook healthy meals? Pack healthy lunches? With housing costs being so high in Vancouver, what is left for food, utilities, transportation, child care, medical, clothing? Forget entertainment! Forget civic participation.
employed but poor means that a single person working full-time year round earning the minimum wage does not have enough to live above the poverty line. Someone working full-time should be able to get out of poverty and government policy should determine an appropriate wage for this to happen.
Equally important is to legislate regularly scheduled increases tied to inflation, to ensure low-wage workers do not face what amounts to a pay cut as a result of rising prices.
For more information on this argument, read this PDF Myths and Facts About the Minimum Wage in BC published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Although the publication is dated February 2011, I believe it still all applies.
Join me August 24 2014 for Stitching with Purpose in Vancouver, a free drop-in workshop. More info here.