This year, the Ontario Living Wage Network (OLWN) participated in a government program allowing us to hire two students for the summer — Aleesha and Hina. When asked about why they chose to work with the OLWN, they both spoke about how they were able to combine advocacy work for a cause they feel strongly about with their own personal passions and interests.
“I was drawn to the OLWN because not only does it do important social justice work advocating for Ontario’s workers, but it also has a research element that I think lends a lot of weight to its mission,” shares Aleesha. “As a Life Sciences student at McMaster University who is focusing my studies on Community Engaged Research, this intersection of research and social advocacy is an avenue I am extremely passionate about. Being able to work at the OLWN has been a huge privilege. I have learned so much about their mission, their work, and also about myself and what I value.”
Hina, a Graphic Design student at Centennial College, shares that this placement enabled her to use design and visual communication as tools to shed light on the importance of living wages and workers’ well-being. “I chose to undertake my summer placement with the Ontario Living Wage Network due to a combination of my desire to support the community and my passion for creative communication. This experience has not only reaffirmed my commitment to community welfare but has also strengthened my pursuit of a career path where meaningful engagement and creative expression intersect.”
Both Hina and Aleesha attest to the importance of a living wage for students. Often times students are overlooked when discussing a living wage, despite the high expenses associated with this stage of life. Earning a living wage has a significant impact on their quality of life as students; not only has it helped them achieve financial stability, but it has also reduced stress and allowed them to better focus on their education.
It was great to have you two with us for this short time...you'll be missed!
Anytime a story about gratuity/tipping culture comes up, the OLWN and it's gratuity-free certified employers get referenced.
Each month, we will showcase a different certified living wage employer. This month we are celebrating Collective Joy Farm, which is an indoor farm located in the heart of Kingston, Ontario.
Collective Joy Farm provides fresh produce and high-quality foods for their community to enjoy year-round. All their produce comes from organic seeds, grown in a recycled hemp fibre growing medium free of pesticides and herbicides which yields beautiful vitamin and mineral-rich greens.
Collective Joy Farm also offers consultation services and a two-month integrative support package for individuals and businesses looking to grow their own fresh food.
Charting the Living Wage Movement
With a recent audit and cleanup of our database of employers, we were compelled to visualize a few data points about the number and type of certified living wage employers we've certified over the years.
We transitioned to a consolidated 10-region system in 2022 from a more complicated map of 28 living wage regions. It's interesting to see the GTA with the second highest count; we started 2020 with only 20 in Toronto.
We have certified living wage employers in dozens of sectors, but here are the top ten. The food and beverage category wouldn't have shown here until last year.
You can search for certified employers by sector, name, or proximity in our directory: