COPE wants Vancouver to be Living Wage City
COPE candidates want Vancouver’s public sector employers to pay direct and contract employees a living wage- the hourly wage sufficient for an average family to meet their basic needs in a particular region. According to a CCPA report, for Vancouver, that works out to $16.74 per hour.
“People who work in Vancouver should be able to afford to live in Vancouver,” said COPE Cllr David Cadman.
Cadman wants the City of Vancouver, Park Board and School Board to set an example other Vancouver employers can follow. The first step could be striking a mayor’s task force of economic and social policy organizations, unions and city staff to explore how a living wage policy could be introduced.
“This city depends on people doing important work for which, at present, they are not getting a living wage. Yet as a society we haven’t been prepared to pay them enough to meet their basic needs,” said COPE council candidate Ellen Woodsworth. “This is a question of fundamental human rights.”
Ordinary working families are moving out of Vancouver. According to Stats Canada, almost 5,000 families left Vancouver between 2001 and 2006. Families that remain struggle with escalating costs for housing, food and transportation.
Low wages mean workers and their families constantly struggle to meet their basic needs, forcing many parents to work two or more jobs, accrue spiraling debt, and become more susceptible to long-term health problems. Child poverty is a strong predictor of school failure, lower literacy levels, poor health and under-employment as adults.
While major US cities like Miami, Washington and Philadelphia have addressed their citizens’ need for a living wage, Vancouver still suffers unacceptable levels of income inequality – too many people are being left behind.
With Vancouver’s cost of living still rising, COPE candidates are committed to making Vancouver an affordable city where families can thrive—not just survive.
COPE and Vision Vancouver School Trustees Make Class Size a Priority
(VANCOUVER) COPE and Vision Vancouver school trustee candidates will make class size a priority if elected, said Vision mayoral candidate Gregor Robertson, at an announcement outside Sir Charles Tupper school today.
“The NPA Vancouver Board of Education has failed to make progress reducing class sizes in the past three years. In fact, the situation has worsened,” said Robertson. “We’ve had a failure of leadership from the NPA trustees in advocating for the needs of Vancouver students, and we’re seeing the results in hundreds of overcrowded classrooms and far too many unsupported students with special needs.”
Since 2006, the number of secondary classes with over 30 students has gone from 498 to 586 – an increase of 18 per cent.
Classes with more than four students with special needs have increased from 795 to 1088 – a 37 per cent increase since 2006. This means there are nearly 52,000 high school students in classes that exceed the specifications of The School Act.
Despite these numbers, NPA trustees voted in October to accept these classes as “appropriate for student learning,” while COPE trustees Allan Wong and Al Blakey, along with Vision trustee Sharon Gregson, voted no and urged the board to go back and do better.
“A Social Studies 10 class with 37 students including four with special needs or an English 11 class of 31 students with six students needing their own Individual Education Plans are not ‘appropriate’,” said COPE candidate Bill Bargeman. “These are only two examples of many, many such classes.”
While the situation in elementary schools is better, with no classes exceeding legislated size limits, the number of classes with four or more students with special needs has increased from 80 to 90 in the past year.
Patti Bacchus, a Vision Vancouver candidate and long-time parent advocate for students with special needs, pointed out that learning conditions have worsened during the NPA term and services for students with special needs have taken a disproportionate hit from staff cuts.
“The NPA-dominated board has blindly stated that all these classes are appropriate for student learning and we know that is not the case – there are far too many students with special needs who are not receiving the support they need,” said Bacchus.
“The key is standing up for our students, parents and schools and making the case that funding for public education must cover real costs including classes that are truly appropriate for student learning,” said Bargeman. “A COPE and Vision Board will look at the budget with a keen eye to reallocating resources back to the classroom.”
COPE NEEDS YOUR TIME ON ELECTION DAY
Please sign up now to our E-Day team and help pull the vote to elect progressive candidates to City, School Board and Park Board. If you have not volunteered to help get out the vote before, don’t worry, there will be E-Day workshops on Thursday, November 13 and Friday November 14.
Sign up to our E-day team by emailing Nathan Allen at NathanA@cope.bc.ca or by calling 605-255-0400.
It is absolutely vital that all of the time available to you on November 15th is devoted to volunteering helping COPE pull the vote on Election Day. Please vote in the advanced polls so that every second you can spare on Election Day is spent helping others vote for the change we need in Vancouver.
Advanced voting starts tomorrow, with polling taking place between 8AM to 8PM on:
Wednesday, November 5
Saturday November 8
Monday November 10
Wednesday November 12
You can vote at any of the advanced voting locations:
City Hall – 453 West 12th Avenue
Dunbar Community Centre – 4747 Dunbar Street
Trout Lake Community Centre – 3350 Victoria Drive
West End Community Centre – 870 Denman St
Sunset Community Centre – 6810 Main Street
Creative City Cabaret
See your COPE candidates show their creative talent and why they should be elected to run our "Creative City" at the Creative City Cabaret, presented by Left Right Minds.
Saturday, November 8 from 9pm to 11pm at the Roundhouse Community Centre.