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.
Instead we'll be celebrating our certified living wage employers, many of whom have had to make all manner of adjustments to the way they do business.
The living wage movement in Ontario has taken a lot of inspiration from our friends in the UK, including the tradition of #LivingWageWeek. Like them, we like to keep track of several important numbers. Our favourite is, of course, the number of certified living wage employers. As of Monday Nov 2, there are 333 certified living wage employers!
More are added every week it seems, even since early spring when normalcy was challenged for many.
We thank all of our current certified living wage employers, and those that reach out to new ones in their community. Living wage employers recognize workers as more than just a cost to be controlled. They are a valued part of their success, and of the wider community.
I've written 4 of these emails to kick off living wage week now. I never thought I would be doing so in the context of a global pandemic, but here we all are. The living wage, and employers that pay it are needed now more than ever.