First Call Monthly Updates

May Monthly Update

Welcome to our monthly update about First Call’s advocacy work and key developments in child and youth policy in BC.

Highlights this month include:

Read on to learn more!

Yours for children and youth,

Adrienne, Helesia, Dylan, Halena, Leila, Violet-Rose, and Emily


Looking for easily-accessible facts specific to your region to present and share with your communities? We have pulled data from our 2018 Child Poverty Report Card to create Regional Factsheets that are shareable in .pdf and .ppt files and can be downloaded below. Factsheets are available by region and federal riding. A huge thanks to Becky Kelly for her work in creating these resources.

The factsheets include graphs and graphics comparing the data from your region to British Columbia-wide data.

  • Poverty rate for all residents

  • Poverty rate for all children

  • Poverty rate for children in couple families

  • Poverty rate for children in lone-parent families


On May 1, the Living Wage for Families Campaign released 2019 living wage rates for 12 communities across BC. The new hourly living wages range from $14.03 in the North Central Region to $19.50 in Metro Vancouver, and the provincial government’s investments in child care significantly affected this year’s calculations. Click here to learn more. On May 16, the Campaign hosted a webinar on the new living wages and the certification process for local governments.

At the end of May, the Campaign helped coordinate several low-wage workers and community members to share their stories with the Fair Wages Commission which is exploring how to reduce the gap between BC’s minimum wage and a living wage. The consultation is open until June 28, and you can view the Campaign’s submission here.


In late April, BC’s Minister of Labour introduced Bill 8 in the legislature that will amend the Employment Standards Act to provide better protections for children and adolescents who are working. In May, First Call published a briefing note to explain the history and current announcements, as well as answer Frequently Asked Questions.

In case you missed it, this Bill modernizes BC’s employment laws and brings us into compliance with international standards, specifically the International Labour Organization’s Convention 138 on the minimum age of employment – an agreement the Government of Canada ratified in 2016.

While these legislative changes set a direction that will greatly improve protections for working children and adolescents, the Ministry must now engage with British Columbians (including youth with recent employment experience), as well as review workplace injury data to determine what jobs, tasks and hours are appropriate.


Violet-Rose Pharoah, our past Fostering Change Campaign Co-Organizer, visited a TRRUST: Collective Impact event to table for Fostering Change and invite participation in the campaign. Dylan Cohen, Fostering Change Campaign Co-Organizer, spoke about the campaign at the Canadian Association of Journalists Conference in Winnipeg and the Threshold Housing Aging Out of Care panel.

Halena Seiferling, Living Wage for Families Campaign Organizer, has been busy!  She spoke to staff and trustees of the New Westminster School Board Operations Committee about the campaign. She also presented at the Canadian Labour Congress Sustainable Communities Initiative Breakfast and at the May First Call Coalition Meeting to provide updates about the calculation and how it relates to recent government investments such as the Affordable Child Care Benefit. At the end of May, she also presented to both the provincial Basic Income Expert Committee and provincial Fair Wages Commission.

Helesia Luke, Communications and Development Coordinator, spoke at the Inclusion BC Conference in Victoria about child poverty and social exclusion.


Letter to Ministers Katrine Conroy and Katrina Chen – Early Childhood Educators Wage Enhancement


The Tyee: Metro Van’s Living Wage Drops, and that’s a Good Thing
Global News: Metro Vancouver living wage dips for first time in 11 years: CCPA
CKPG Today: Living wage drops significantly amidst BC childcare investments
Prince George Matters: New B.C. childcare investments make Prince George more affordable for families: report
IndoCanadian Voice: Report says BC’s child care investments have major impact on 2019 living wage
Rock 101: Metro Vancouver living wage dips for first time in 11 years: CCPA
Sooke Pocket News: Household expenses up, but government policies drive down living wage
BC Gov News: Statement by minister of state on Metro Vancouver’s living wage
CFAX 1070: Greater Victoria household expenses are up, living wage for families down
Oak Bay News: Household expenses up in B.C. but living wage has gone down
Sooke News: Household expenses up in B.C. but living wage has gone down
Victoria News: Household expenses up in B.C. but living wage has gone down
PG Citizen: Prince George living wage falls to $14.03 per hour
Comox Valley Record: Living wage drops in the Comox Valley
MyCoastNow: The living wage is down this year, but that’s a good thing
Revelstoke Current: Revelstoke Living Wage Drops, but Moves up to Third in BC 2019
Revelstoke Review: Revelstoke has third highest living wage requirements in province
My Cowichan Valley Now: The living wage is down this year, but that’s a good thing
Revelstoke Mountaineer: Revelstoke’s living wage decreases for 2019
Revelstoke Current: Revelstoke Families Need to Earn $75,000+ a year for 2019’s Living Wage
Press Progress: BC Liberal MLA Worries Child Labour Laws Will Make it Impossible for Kids to Buy New Bicycles
Kelowna Now: Employers will be banned from taking servers’ tips under proposed BC legislation
Revelstoke Review: Editorial cartoon for May 8
BC Gov News: Minister’s Statement on April Labour Force Survey
IndoCanadianVoice: BC continues to have the best-performing economy in Canada
Rocky Mountain Goat: Provincial childcare programs impact living wage
The Vancouver Sun: Halena Seiferling: B.C. child-care spending shows the power of good public policy. What’s next?
Policy Note: BC child care spending shows the power of good public policy. What’s next?
Kimberley Bulletin: B.C. program to help foster kids enter adulthood a mixed bag of experiences
CBC News: Provincial commission seeks to close gap between minimum wage and living wage
New West Record: Living wage policy eyed by New West School Board
The Philanthropist: Policy matters: Dylan Cohen
Kimberley Bulletin: BC minimum wage hits $13.85/hr today
CBC News: Minimum wage in BC increases to $13.85 an hour today