Meridian Credit Union becomes largest certified living wage employer in Ontario

Fair compensation for employees translates to improved financial and overall well-being

TORONTO— Meridian marks an important milestone today in becoming the largest employer to become certified by the Ontario Living Wage Network. A living wage reflects an income that a worker must bring home in order to meet their basic living needs and participate more fully in life, work and community.

“Our employees power Meridian’s purpose and we have a commitment to support their financial security and economic well-being,” says Jay-Ann Gilfoy, President & CEO, Meridian. “As a Certified Living Wage Employer, we are building resilience and wealth in the communities where we live and work”

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Living Wage Week 2022

Let's get right to the headline news...we have updated all living wage rates for the province!

As announced earlier, we've moved to a regional system. By doing this we'll be able to update all 10 living wage rates every year on the second Monday of November, and every employer in the province will be able to seek certification with us. Previous years have see us add new living wage calculations to our map, but there was always gaps in our coverage. If we continued on with the old boundary system, we would have needed to keep an unwieldy 51 local living wage rates updated every year...

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New living wage rates calculated; all have gone up to reflect increased costs.

KITCHENER—The Ontario Living Wage Network (OLWN) has completed 10 living wage rate calculations covering all regions of Ontario, and now range from $18.05 in London to $23.15 in the GTA. All rates saw an increase, with largest jump in Sault Ste. Marie: $16.20 in 2021 to $19.70, representing a 21.6% increase.

Despite the recent increases to the minimum wage to $15.50, there is no region in the province where this is even close to a living wage.

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Minimum wage increases in Ontario won’t help with the rising cost of living, owner says

Ontario's minimum wage increased 50 cents an hour over the weekend, but Aiana owner Devinder Chaudhary says the increase to $15.50 won’t help with the rising cost of living.

"The minimum wage should be the living wage,” Chaudhary said.

His Ottawa restaurant is part of the Ontario Living Wage Network, paying his employees a minimum of $18.60 an hour. That is the calculated wage an Ottawa resident needs to adequately cover expenses like food, clothing, shelter, medical and other expenses.

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Leith Wheeler Certified Living Wage Employer in 3 Provinces

One of the goals of the living wage movement in Canada is to be able to certify employers with multiple locations across the country. We have one of our first tastes of this as we certify Leith Wheeler Investment Counsel Ltd., which also has offices in Alberta and British Columbia

In Ontario, we have been working together with our friends in the Living Wage for Families BC and Alberta Living Wage Network to synchronize our efforts and timeframes to this end. It has been really helpful to learn from the experiences and initiatives of other campaigns, and we hope to "share" many more certified employers in the coming years.

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Volunteer Board Search

In 2020 organizers with the Ontario living Wage Network (OLWN) created a federally incorporated non-profit called Living Wage Canada/Salaire Vital Canada. The OLWN had happily outgrown our host organization—the magnanimous Mennonite Central Committee Ontario—and it was time to launch a formal organization. 

We are still focused on Ontario operations, and will continue to conduct business as the OLWN in this province. But Living Wage Canada is also answering the call to provide organizational home to living wage leaders from across the country. There are currently 4 members of board, all from Ontario. We are looking to eventually add 5 more members. In addition to geographical representation we also look for diversity in identities protected by the Human Rights code, breadth of expertise/experience and, specialized skills and knowledge. 

For more details about this volunteer position, please head over to the Living Wage Canada board search page:

livingwage.ca/board


Libro Credit Union: Deeply Invested In The Living Wage Movement

Over five years ago Libro Credit Union, the largest credit union in Southwestern Ontario, became a certified Living Wage employer. It wasn't a surprise. They had been active at many roundtables and community groups concerned with—among other things—tackling the problem of working poverty. Like many organizations that make up the Ontario Living Wage Network (OLWN), Libro saw it necessary to lead by example and make public their certification.

Credit unions have always been early and potent champions of the living wage movement. We list 8 at the moment, with dozens of branches all over Ontario. In addition to being certified, we are pleased to announce that Libro Credit Union will be supporting the work of the Ontario Living Wage Network directly over the next three years with a generous annual financial contribution.

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First Certified Living Wage Employer In Peel: The Mississauga Food Bank Leads By Example

It has been a frequent request: "What is the living wage for Mississauga/Brampton?" Today, with the help of the Region of Peel and the Peel Poverty Reduction Committee we can now say that rate has been calculated at $19.80 per hour.

The Ontario Living Wage Network paused all calculation work in 2020, due to barriers to year-to-year consistency issues caused by the pandemic. We are excited to not only get back to this work in 2021, but to also add such a large and heavily populated area to our map of coverage. 

Local calculations are the starting blocks of the living wage movement; the real race is to certify as many living wage employers as possible. The problem of working poverty is understood well by our first certified living wage employer in Peel: The Mississauga Food Bank.

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It's #LivingWageWeek 2021

It's Living Wage Week, and we're very excited to announce 23 updated living wage rates across the province as well as a first-time calculation for Peel Region. 

Since we last made calculations in 2019, new policies that provide support to families with children have been introduced by the provincial government. Combined with  changing family demographics, it has become clear that expenses for a reference family of four is no longer the most representative for living wage calculations in Ontario.  

New supports for families with children meant that living wage calculations were coming back with reductions over the 2019 rates. Yet we all know the cost of living has not gone down. Inflation has quadrupled since the beginning of 2019 and is at a 18-year high. Our calculation was no longer reflecting reality. 

Our 2021 calculations now take into account a weighted average between a family of four, single parent with one child and a single adult. These 2021 living wage rates reflect changing demographics in our province and increases in inflation. We believe they accurately reflect the realities of costs in Ontario.

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