Since the beginning of the pandemic here in B.C., our government has been listening to people to find out what they need. COVID-19 has touched all of our lives in some way. Impacts have been varied across our community, but we have all been facing different struggles. That’s why it’s more important than ever that we listen and understand the people’s experiences.
I want to thank all of you who have reached out to myself and my office with suggestions and ideas. It has helped. It is because of our efforts together that our province has now entered Phase 2 of our plan to Restart BC.
On June 1, B.C.’s minimum wage increased to $14.60 an hour. This is one more step on our path to a minimum wage of at least $15, expected to be in place by 2021. Retail, food service, and accommodation workers – essential worker on the frontlines during COVID-19 – make up 93% of those earning minimum wage in our province.
Last week, our government also announced protection from eviction for more businesses during the pandemic. We’d heard over the past few weeks that many businesses eligible for the federal government’s Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (CECRA) were frustrated because their landlords refused to apply. This announcement means that businesses eligible for CECRA cannot be evicted, giving their landlords more incentive to apply for the federal rent assistance program.
You can find more information about our government’s COVID-19 response, the steps we are taking, our supports for people and the Restart Plan at http://gov.bc.ca/restartbc.
I also want to acknowledge that this past weeks have been a difficult one for many in our community, including Black, Asian, Indigenous people, and other people of colour, their allies, and all of us working for racial justice. The protests across the US and Canada have been timely reminders that we here in BC still have a lot of work to do to eradicate racism from our communities and our justice system.
We can build a more just future for everyone by listening to and taking our lead from Indigenous people and people of colour.
Please continue to reach out. Especially If you have any questions or need any assistance with provincial supports. My office is currently open via phone and email to support you. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-936-8709.