ServiceMaster Restore Midland/Orillia To Certify

MIDLAND—The Ontario Living Wage Network (OLWN) is pleased to announce that ServiceMaster Restore of Midland/Orillia has become a certified living wage employer with all employees earning at least $18.01 per hour. 

Dwayne Frans, Owner, explains why they became a certified living wage employer:

“We are proud to be part of the Living Wage employer program in Simcoe County and feel all our employees deserve to earn a fair wage to support their families and to get ahead”.

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Premium Home Care Company Certifies In Ottawa

Family-Owned Home Care Company Stands Out From Rest By Paying All Staff At Least a Living Wage

OTTAWA—The Ontario Living Wage Network (OLWN) is pleased to announce that Freiheit Care Inc., a premium home care company, has become a certified living wage employer with all employees earning at least $18.42 per hour.

There has been a constant call for caregivers, personal support workers, and nurses to be fairly compensated for the service they provide, especially to a society grappling with COVID-19. Helen Reimer, Director of Freiheit Care, explains why they pay at least a living wage to all full-time, part-time and contracted staff:

"Our business is about caring for our clients, and we depend on our staff to provide that service. If we want to offer reliable, premium care, we must start with making sure our staff are able to make ends meet...

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Employers Remember What It's Like To Scrape By on Min Wage

The Ontario Living Wage Network is pleased to announce that ServiceMaster Restore of Guelph, a disaster restoration company, has become a certified living wage employer with all employees earning at least $17.00 per hour.

Andrew Jackson, co-owner explains why they pay at least a living wage to all staff:

"Myself and my partners started in this industry as technicians in the field and worked our way up, eventually buying our own franchise. From the beginning we always promised ourselves that we’d look after our people. We knew what it was like to scrape by on the bare minimum of wages…to struggle with multiple jobs to make ends meet. We don’t forget where we’ve come from and we’ll always be committed to treating people well."

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Matthew House Ottawa Is Capital Region’s Newest Certified Living Wage Employer

The Ontario Living Wage Network (OLWN) is pleased to announce that Matthew House Ottawa, a furniture bank and refugee services charity, has become a certified living wage employer, with all employees earning at least $18.42 per hour.

With a provincial minimum wage of $14.25, Allan Reesor-McDowell, Executive Director of Matthew House Ottawa explains why they pay at least a living wage to all full-time, part-time and contracted staff:

"Our key value is respecting human dignity, and from my perspective, and the perspective of our board, a living wage is foundational to that."

 

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#LivingWageWeek2020

Well, this is going to be a Living Wage Week like no other. For starters, we are not releasing any new or updated living wage rates, as we usually would on the first Monday of November.

Along with our local organizers, we decided there was no way to calculate 2020 living wage rates that would provide a useful representation of living expenses in the coming year. A few reasons behind this decision:

  • Many calculations depend on local non-profit organizations such as United Ways, social planning councils, and development organizations whose resources are already stretched thin.  
  • The calculations rely on 2019 factors and price indicators that will not be relevant in 2020-2021.
  • In the interest of consistency, a pause in calculations now could avoid any wild fluctuations over previous and future years.

Almost all of the regional calculations have undergone a year or more without an update. We’ve just never pressed pause for all of them at once.

 

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Work, Ours and Yours During COVID-19

As this crisis continues to unfold, it's easy to be overwhelmed by the flood of daily posts, briefings, updates, emergency alerts, breaking news stories, announcements, and directives. 

We at the Ontario Living Wage Network are thinking of the many certified living wage employers and their employees and their families at this time. Now more than ever we need these good and decent businesses and organizations.

New employers continue to apply for certification with us, and we are carrying on with our work as we always have. Of course we wont be doing in-person duties such as certificate presentations and other public appearances. 

Our thoughts are also with employers and their workers who have seen a downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Af of today, April 6th, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit applications are open in addition to several other measures. See Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan for individuals and businesses here:

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html

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City of Kingston: Certified Living Wage Employer

There have been motions winding their way through Kingston City Council for 7+ years now, and it's great to finally see them certify.

They are at the supporter level, which recognizes that they pay all full-time staff at least the local living wage, calculated last November at $17.57/hr. They pledge to update their pay scales if needed, to track increases to the calculation every year.

Onboarding large public sector employers like The City of Kingston is a powerful way to set them on the path to pay all part-time and contracted staff a living wage. The living wage movement is no longer looking in from the outside; the city is now part of that movement to end working poverty...

 

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Huron County Newest Municipal Living Wage Employer

Huron County is now the third municipality to become a certified living wage employer. This is terrific. We really need our cities and towns to step up—now more than ever—in the fight against working poverty.

“I am thrilled that we can join others in our area by becoming certified as a Living Wage employer,” says Meighan Wark, CAO of the County of Huron. “At the County of Huron, we believe that paying a Living Wage is a very important movement to help lift families out of poverty and provide a basic level of economic security...

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#LivingWageWeek 2019

It's Living Wage Week, and first things first...we have 5 brand new calculations:

Region Rate
Haldimand Norfolk  $16.58
Renfrew County $16.80
Prescott Russell $17.15
Hastings Prince Edward $17.35
Grey Bruce  $18.39

And here are the updated rates:

Region Rate Year Previous % change
London $16.20 2019 $15.53 4.31%
Thunder Bay $16.21 2019 $16.05 1.00%
Chatham-Kent $16.33 2019 $15.86 2.96%
Waterloo Region $16.35 2019 $16.15 1.24%
Hamilton $16.45 2019 $15.85 3.66%
Sudbury $16.98 2019 $16.18 4.94%
Guelph Wellington  $17.00 2019 $16.90 0.59%
Leeds Grenville Lanark $17.21 2019 $17.07 0.82%
Perth and Huron $17.55 2019 $17.44 0.63%
Kingston $17.57 2019 $17.29 1.62%
Peterborough $17.63 2019 $17.65 -0.11%
Northumberland County $18.06 2019 $17.95 0.61%
Niagara Region $18.12 2019 $17.99 0.72%
Ottawa $18.42 2019 $18.21 1.15%
Halton $20.38 2019 $17.95 n/a*
Toronto $22.08 2019 $21.75 1.52%

* Halton Region's previous calculation used a different family model, so the previous and current rates are not directly comparable

 

There are also several events across the province to mark the week:

 

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On The Road Again...

On September 30th United Way Simcoe Muskoka, the Poverty Reduction Task Group, and the OLWN’s Anne Coleman presented on the living wage to Barrie City Council. Watch the presentation here, which begins at the 40-minute mark.

It is the latest in a steady stream of council appearances my colleague Anne has been making, racking up the travel kilometres from Hamilton to Kingston to Port Colborne and now Barrie.

As communications coordinator, it’s my job to help prepare for, catalog, and report on how these things go. Sometimes I’ll supply slides or other supporting materials. Of course there are often questions from the council members after such presentations.

The councillors in Barrie had several succinct exchanges with the presenters, and they seemed to have a genuine interest in what the living wage was and how it might impact the city they represent. It made me reflect on the other times the living wage has gone before a council in Ontario.

 

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