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.
Niagara has been certifying living wage employers at a furious rate this year, and the latest is Gales Gas Bar, with 15 locations across the area.
They currently employ 22 full time and 76 part time staff. The full time staff are all paid at least the living wage–$17.99/hour–and have embarked on a wage increase and benefits plan to bring the part time staff up to the same over the next few years.
Some employers are able to certify at the champion level, where they can demonstrate that all full time, part time and contracted staff are paid the living wage. Other businesses, especially those in industries where minimum wage models dominate, a phased implementation is needed.
We look forward to announcing this family owned and operated business as a certified living wage employer at the Champion level.
Here is the press release from the Niagara Poverty Reduction Network:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Gale’s Gas Bar Limited Certified as a Living Wage Supporter
The Niagara Poverty Reduction Network is pleased to announce that Gale’s Gas Bar Limited has become a certified living wage employer at the Supporter level.Read more
ST. MARYS, ON - Luckhardt Landworks Ltd. is the latest to certify as a Living Wage Employer in the champion category. They are the first business in St. Marys to achieve this status.
“Luckhardt Landworks Ltd. is proud to be a Living Wage Employer. Since the company’s beginnings, it has been important that we contribute to the local economy by providing a sustainable living to our employees – to provide a quality of life and to enable us to attract the right people to deliver a quality product,” says Bryn Luckhardt, Owner of Luckhardt Landworks Ltd. “A win-win situation for everyone - we have excellent employees and wonderful customers. We are excited to participate in the Living Wage campaign to bring awareness to the local community.”Read more
Great article St. Catharines The Standard:
The drive to have Niagara employers pay a living wage hit a milestone this month — the 20th company signed on to the campaign. But paying all their workers enough that they can afford to live a decent life in the community is just part of it, said Justin Callon, co-owner of ServiceMaster Restore in St. Catharines."A lot of it is just providing the right atmosphere and treating people properly," he said. "Giving them a living wage definitely helps."
The Niagara Poverty Reduction Network is pleased to announce that Beechwood Doughnuts has become a certified living wage employer. Beechwood Doughnuts is Niagara's first and only 100% vegan doughnut shop. Located in the heart of Downtown St. Catharines, Beechwood Doughnuts has proven that plant-based foods can be just as delicious as they are compassionate. They currently employ 10 full time staff and 11 part time staff. “Ever since we came to the realization that our little doughnut shop was becoming something much larger than we could have ever anticipated, becoming a certified living wage employer was at the forefront of our minds...Read more
Originally posted at the Mennonite Central Committee Ottawa Notebook
“We need to create a parade that politicians want to get in front of.”
That is how one participant at our forum on the living wage and public sector employers put it.
At the heart of decent work is fair pay – the ability to earn a living wage. Not a poverty wage. But enough to meet your needs and fully participate in the life of your community.
But the growth of low-wage and precarious employment has become one of the defining labour market challenges in our time and one of the root causes of growing income inequality.
In 2017, the Government of Ontario’s Changing Workplaces Review found that 30% to 32% of workers in Ontario were in low wage jobs with few if any benefits. Many people in standard jobs, “work for very low pay and do not have a private pension.” (An Agenda for Workplace Rights, p. 45)
How does one change that reality?Read more
The Niagara Poverty Reduction Network is pleased to announce that Person Centered Care (PCC) has become Niagara’s tenth certified Living Wage Employer.
Person Centered Care is a private agency that was founded in 2016 by Alyshia Meredith. Their Life Skills Coaches are trained to support people of all ages with vulnerabilities such as developmental disabilities, mental health, dual diagnosis, and the elderly. Supports include goal setting, outreach and day services, person-directed programs and activities, and respite care.Read more
The Niagara Poverty Reduction Network is pleased to announce that Niagara Pallet has become Niagara’s 9th certified Living Wage Employer. Niagara Pallet started in 1993 and is owned by the Vrugteveen family. They are a leading manufacturer, seller and recycler of pallets and shipping materials. Their Smithville-based operations are housed in a 23,000 square foot building with an 18,000 square foot addition opening soon.Read more
“To produce the safe, nutritious and high quality product we strive for, we need to have a team of top notch individuals that are committed to our company and our philosophies. We want our team members to be proud of where they work and the products they produce so they can strive to better their skills and abilities in the workplace. By creating a positive culture in the workplace and providing a compensation package that pays a living wage I believe we are setting our team, and our business up for success and longevity,” says Iron Will Raw owner, Matt Bonanno. Iron Will Raw currently employs a dozen staff.Read more