Craig Pickthorne

  • 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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  • published Volunteer Board Search in News 2022-04-05 11:13:48 -0400

    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:

  • published Employer Directory 2022-03-14 12:10:50 -0400

  • 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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  • published Calculation Archive in Documentation 2021-11-04 09:38:25 -0400

    Calculation Archive

    2019 Reports

    Local living wage rates are calculated and peer-reviewed on an annual basis where possible. Some calculations are completed by a local organizing group, while others are conducted entirely by OLWN staff.

    Toronto-report-thumb.pngPeterborough-and-District-report-thumb.pngOttawa-report-thumb.png Niagara-_-Region-report-thumb.png Kingston-report-thumb.png

  • 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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  • published It's #LivingWageWeek 2021 in News 2021-11-01 08:04:28 -0400

    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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  • published FirstOntario Latest Living Wage Credit union in News 2021-09-27 09:46:42 -0400

    FirstOntario Latest Living Wage Credit union

    HAMILTON—The Ontario Living Wage Network (OLWN) is pleased to announce that FirstOntario Credit Union has become a the latest credit union to become a certified living wage employer, with all employees earning at least $16.45 per hour. In operation for over 80 years, FirstOntario serves more than 126,000 people with 31 branches throughout the Golden Horseshoe, Niagara Region and Southwestern regions of Ontario.

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  • published Top London Landscaping Co. Joins Program in News 2021-07-30 13:45:31 -0400

    Top London Landscaping Co. Joins Program

    Award-winning TLC Landscaping is one of several London businesses to become a certified living wage employer recently. Over 100 people work for TLC, and none earn less than the calculated living wage rate for London of $16.20 per hour. 

    As we do of all our new living wage employers, we asked Carla Bailey, Human Resources Manager why TLC chose to certify:

    "As a company, we believe the more appreciation and consideration employees feel, the more enjoyable their work becomes, and the more energy they put into their work.

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  • published Enviro Services Group Certifies Living Wage in News 2021-07-09 10:48:08 -0400

    Enviro Services Group Certifies Living Wage

    KITCHENER—The Ontario Living Wage Network (OLWN) is pleased to announce that AET Group has become a certified living wage employer with all employees earning at least $16.35 per hour.

    AET Group was founded twenty years ago as solid waste management company. They have since grown into multi-disciplinary environmental consulting, auditing and scientific services company. Scott Freiburger, Managing Director & CEO, explains why they became a certified living wage employer:

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  • London Manufacturing Advocate is Living Wage Certified

    The Trillium Network for Advanced Manufacturing is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising public and investor awareness of Ontario's advanced manufacturing ecosystem, with the intention of supporting growth and improving competitiveness. Brendan Sweeney, Managing Director, explains why they decided to certify:

    "The Trillium Network for Advanced Manufacturing believes that paying the living wage, or more, demonstrates that we value our employees health and well-being.  A living wage demonstrates that we believe in the growth of our staff, community and economy."

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  • published First Certified Media Outlet : Village Media in News 2021-05-26 09:54:22 -0400

    First Certified Media Outlet : Village Media

    The Ontario Living Wage Network (OLWN) is pleased to announce that Village Media has become a certified living wage employer with employees at all outlets in Ontario earning at least the local living wage where available. They are the first media outlet to become a living wage employer in Ontario, and the first certified employer in Sault Ste. Marie where they are headquartered.

    Village Media is a network of local news and information websites that began providing digital news and community content to the Sault Ste. Marie region almost 20 years ago. They have now grown to include 20 owned and operated sites and license their custom content management system to respected news publishers across Canada, in the United States and in the United Kingdom. CEO Jeff Elgie explains why they chose to certify:

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  • 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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  • published #LivingWageWeek2020 in News 2020-11-02 09:48:28 -0500


    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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  • published Work in News 2020-04-06 12:30:09 -0400

    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:

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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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Communications Coordinator for the Ontario Living Wage Network/Living Wage Canada. Proudly serving this growing movement's needs in all areas of digital, logistics and design.