The living wage is the hourly rate of pay at which a household can meet its basic needs, once government transfers have been added to the family’s income (such as child benefits) and deductions have been subtracted (such as income taxes and E.I. premiums). The living wage is calculated to reflect the local cost of living.
Visit Living Wage Regions to find your local living wage. If your region is not listed, we will contact you with information about the status of the living wage calculation where you do business.
Living Wage Employers are responsible employers who care about their employees and the community. They recognize that paying a living wage constitutes a critical investment in the long–term prosperity of the economy by fostering a dedicated, skilled and healthy workforce.
WHAT IS THE LIVING WAGE EMPLOYER CERTIFICATION PROCESS?
- Expression of Interest. Complete the Living Wage Enrolment Form and submit it to us. If you have questions, give us a call or email us.
- Application Review. We’ll review your enrolment form and contact you to address any questions and determine level of recognition.
- Declaration and Certificate Presentation. We set a date for you to sign the Living Wage Employer Declaration and receive your Living Wage Employer Certificate.
- Recognition. We’ll publicly recognize your organization or business through social media, events and publications.
- Periodic Review. When the living wage calculation is updated, we’ll contact you to let you know the new rate. Employers have six months to make adjustments for the new rate.
WHY BECOME A LIVING WAGE EMPLOYER?
Living Wage Employers are responsible employers who care about their employees and the community. They recognize that paying a living wage constitutes a critical investment in the long–term prosperity of the economy by fostering a dedicated, skilled and healthy workforce. The Living Wage Employer Program recognizes and celebrates employers that pay their direct and indirect employees a living wage.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BECOMING A LIVING WAGE EMPLOYER?
- Employees who earn a living wage experience increased mental and physical health, and economic well-being.
- Living Wage Employers receive public recognition for demonstrating a commitment to socially responsible practices, making them more attractive to potential employees and customers.
- Employers paying a living wage experience a decrease in employee turnover and absenteeism, increased retention and productivity, and savings on rehiring and retraining.
- Employers can use the living wage as a tool within their recruitment strategy for lower paying occupations.
WHAT INFORMATION IS NEEDED FOR TO APPLY FOR LIVING WAGE EMPLOYER CERTIFICATION?
Employers complete and submit the Living Wage enrolment form that should include the following details:
1. Employer details
- Employer name and addresses of all offices/worksites/premises
- Basic description of company, nature of the workplace
- Contact person’s details in relation to this application
2. Direct employees
- Approximate number of direct staff that will be affected by Living Wage Employer status
- For organizations that have collective agreements in place, it is expected that they will inform the relevant union(s) of their intention to apply for living wage status. Confirmation of this should be included in the plan
- Initial timeline for bringing all direct employees to a living wage rate
- Mechanism that will be used internally to ensure that all staff are maintained at a living wage rate on an annual basis as per conditions 3. Contracted service staff
- Brief description of your current service contracting process
- Estimated number and type of service contracts that will be affected by your certification as a Living Wage Employer
- Mechanism that will be used internally to ensure that all relevant service contracts will include a relevant living wage clause at time of renewal or initial awarding
4. Overseeing the plan
- How this plan will be overseen
- Who has responsibility for overseeing the plan
Employer can use the on-line enrolment form on the Become a Living Wage Employer page of the Ontario Living Wage Network website to submit their implementation plan.
HOW DO I FIND THE LIVING WAGE RATE FOR MY REGION?
Current living wage rates for employees not receiving any non-mandatory benefits can be found by visiting www.ontariolivingwage.ca/living_wage_by_region. If an organization provides any benefits such as health, dental and prescription drug coverage please contact the Living Wage program for a personalized calculation for the organization.
WHAT ARE THE CONDITIONS FOR RECEIVING LIVING WAGE EMPLOYER CERTIFICATION?
Employers agree to ensure that all direct full time, part-time and contract employees are paid the living wage rate for their area. If employees are paid relevant non-mandatory benefits, the living wage hourly rate that must be paid will take account of this.
Employers agree to insert a living wage clause (stipulating that contracted workers and subcontracted workers are to be paid a living wage) in all future contracts where staff who are not direct employees are contracted to provide services to their organization on a regular, ongoing basis.
WHAT IS PHASED IMPLEMENTATION OF THE LIVING WAGE?
The Living Wage Employer Program currently provides phased implementation with three levels of certification for organizations:
All direct full-time employees are paid a living wage. Committed to begin raising the pay of all direct part-time employees to the living wage rate.
All direct full-time and part-time employees are paid a living wage. Committed to including living wage in service contracts for externally contracted (third party) employees that provide service on a regular basis are paid a living wage.
All direct full-time and part-time employees are paid a living wage, and all externally (third party) contracted staff that provide service on a regular basis are paid a living wage or the employer has signaled intent to re-contract at the living wage rate when the contract renews.
HOW ARE EMPLOYER PAID BENEFITS TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT?
To calculate the living wage rate for an employer we take into account their employees’ total compensation package (wages + benefits). If employees receive non-mandatory benefits (such as prescription drug, dental or vision care benefits), the living wage rate is adjusted to take this into account. Please contact us to find out how.
HOW ARE EXTERNALLY CONTRACTED (THIRD-PARTY) STAFF ARE INCLUDED IN LIVING WAGE CERTIFICATION?
Externally contracted staff refers to staff that many businesses use to provide services such as janitorial, security, or catering. This clause covers external (third-party) contracts that provide services for the organization on a regular ongoing basis, that is, for at least 120 hours of labour per year. Ad hoc contract work (for repairs or maintenance, for example) is exempted from this clause.
Living Wage Employers are encouraged to inform contractors about the Living Wage Program and how it may affect the terms of their agreements. A Living Wage clause should be included in all future agreements and renegotiated agreements with hired contractors. Organizations do not need to renegotiate existing contracts before they come up for renewal in order to be compliant. All future agreements, whether new or being renewed, must incorporate the Living Wage standards. Living Wage Champions need to undertake the following:
A. If the staff are directly contracted by the organization. When the contract comes up for renewal the organization should include a living wage clause as part of its Request for Proposals (RFP). It is expected that, after selecting a suitable contractor, a living wage clause will be inserted in the contract as per the RFP.
B. If the staff are not directly contracted by the organization, but do provide services. For example, as part of a tenancy agreement. The organization should advocate for a living wage clause to be included in the agreement/contract when it comes up for renewal.
Best Effort Clause
If an organization can clearly show that it made its best efforts to fulfil this clause it will be allowed to keep its Living Wage Champion status. (For example if an organization received no responses to a Request for Proposals that included a Living Wage Clause.)
HOW ARE COLLECTIVE AGREEMENTS INCLUDED IN LIVING WAGE CERTIFICATION?
It is expected that Organizations that have collective agreements in place will inform the relevant union(s) of their intention to apply for living wage status. Collective agreements will be treated as contracts, as per above.
DO TRAINEES, INTERNS, CO-OP AND PRACTICUM PLACEMENTS HAVE TO BE PAID THE LIVING WAGE?
Employers are allowed to have a small amount of trainees, students in practicum or co-op placements or interns that are paid below the living wage as long as they don’t represent a core part of the total staff makeup (no more than 10% for most employers; in the case of small not-for-profits where the total staff complement is five workers, no more than 20%). Staff that are on probation are not counted as part of the living wage determination process but once their probation period is over, they must receive a living wage.
Notwithstanding the 10% exemption for trainees, interns, co-op and practicum positions, living wage employers are encouraged to pay a living wage to these employees if they are able or as close to the living wage as possible.
Join our mailing list to keep up with all things living wage: