Craig Pickthorne

  • What is the difference between a living wage and a minimum wage?


    A living wage is not the same as the minimum wage, which is the legal minimum all employers must pay. The living wage sets a higher test.

    • The minimum wage is the same across the province. Living wage reflects what people need to earn to cover the actual costs of living in their community.
    • The minimum wage is mandatory for many occupations. The living wage is a voluntary commitment of employers to go beyond the minimum standard and pay enough for employees to cover their expenses and participate in community.
    • For years the minimum wage has been too low to lift even someone working full-time, full-year above the poverty line. The living wage is based on the principle that if you work full-time, full-year you should earn enough to make ends make and participate in your community.

  • published November 2019 Update in Newsletter Signup 2019-11-21 15:57:34 -0500

  • published October 2019 Update in Newsletter Signup 2019-11-21 15:55:56 -0500

  • commented on #LivingWageWeek 2019 2020-01-17 10:24:02 -0500
    Thanks for your question Wayne. In 2017 United Way Bruce Grey decided to use a different family model for their living wage. For consistency, we encourage communities to use the Canadian Living Wage Framework, which specifies a family of two working parents with two small children.

    But we also understand that local communities may have their reasons for going with another family type as well.
  • published On The Road Again... in News 2019-10-01 15:12:51 -0400

    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.


    Read more

  • published September 2019 update in Newsletter Signup 2019-09-20 12:44:19 -0400

  • published Fuel Up With A Living Wage Supporter in News 2019-07-25 13:06:30 -0400

    Fuel Up With A Living Wage Supporter

    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:



    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.

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  • published First Living Wage Employer in St. Marys in News 2019-06-28 13:26:13 -0400

    First Living Wage Employer in St. Marys

    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.”

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  • published May 2019 Update in Newsletter Signup 2019-06-21 11:53:59 -0400

  • published Niagara Region at 20 Employers in News 2019-05-16 11:54:29 -0400

    Niagara Region at 20 Employers

    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."

    Read the full story here.


  • commented on Living Wage Week 2018 2019-02-15 13:19:20 -0500
    Thank you for your inquiry Valerie. For the Toronto calculation, here are the major expense items used to determine what two working adults caring for two children must earn:

    Family Expenses Annual
    Food $ 8,321
    Clothing and Footwear $3,201
    Shelter Rent $19,140
    Hydro $1,377
    Telephone $960
    Tenant Insurance $174
    Internet and Cable $732
    Transportation Vehicle & misc. transit $8,353
    Other $8,688
    Education (adults) $838
    Child care (before subsidy) $16,407
    Non OHIP medical $3,244
    Contingency amount 4.0% $2,857

    Total Family Expenses $74,292

    We post the local calculation reports as they become available here:
  • published Candidate Pledge in Public Sector Campaign 2018-07-25 15:38:38 -0400

    Elected Living Wage Supporters

    Low Wage work hurts families and undermines the local economy.

    The rapid rise of low wage jobs is a growing concern in Ontario communities. Many of us no longer earn enough at our jobs to make ends meet. We face impossible choices. Buy food or paying the rent? Heat the apartment or fix the car? Growing numbers of us face spirally debt and constant anxiety about the future. More of us have long term health problems.
    In Ontario nearly 1.7 million workers work at lower paid jobs.

    There is a solution. It’s a Living Wage.

    Over 170 employers across the province have made the commitment to pay their employees at least a living wage. More and more individuals, community groups, employers and politicians are showing their support for the living wage. We are asking every candidate in the 2018 Municipal Elections across Ontario to support the living wage movement in the province.

    Municipalities hold a key to solving poverty by paying a living wage Municipal governments are anchor institutions in communities and have an opportunity to influence other employer organizations to do the right thing.

    Cities of the 21st century must stand for fairness and equality. And not just in words, but with wages.

    Please indicate you seat and ward/region in the comment section so visitors know where you are running. ENDORSEMENTS MADE WITHOUT THIS INFORMATION CANNOT BE MAPPED.

    Should I be elected to public office, I pledge to advocate for our public sector employers to become certified Living Wage employers.



  • Materials From Public Sector Forum Now Available

    Thank you to everyone who spent the day with us in Burlington on February 23rd. There was a palpable energy to the panels, discussions and presentations. It reminded me of why I love working on events. 

    If you weren't able to make it, don't worry. Posted on the event's page are downloadable audio recordings of every part of the day. You can also view/download the 3 slide decks that were shown in the public sector and campaign panels.

    If you listen to just one audio clip, make it the final wrap-up session, hosted by Deirdre Pike. She facilitates a summary of the most valuable takeaways from each part of the day. And it's also crazy entertaining. 

  • published Meet Kingston's Latest Living Wage Employers in News 2018-02-14 12:15:35 -0500

  • commented on Living Wage by Region 2021-04-09 08:30:56 -0400
    Hi Allan, I take your point. We paused calculation work in 2020, but are working on new rates for release on the first week of November of this year. -Craig Pickthorne, OLWN
  • We all want to share in economic prosperity. Unfortunately, for too many workers in Hamilton, work is not a route out of poverty. With the support of progressive employers, civic leaders and other partners, we’re striving to make Hamilton a living wage community!

    Hamilton’s living wage calculation uses community-specific data through a framework developed by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-Ontario to determine expenses incurred by a family of four. A living wage enables workers to: provide the necessities for their family, promote healthy development, participate in community life, and avoid the stress of living in chronic poverty.

    How we got $16.45 per hour:

    • Family of four: two adults, two children
    • Both adults work full time; 37.5 hours a week
    • No savings, retirement planning or debt repayments

    Monthly Costs

    — 2019's Living Wage Calculation Report to be posted here soon —


  • Kingston Recognizes First Two Living Wage Employers

    Well done Cam Jay and Tara Kainer of Kingston Living Wage on a successful employer recognition event Thursday August 3rd.

    The first two of many to come: Brunet Plumbing Kitchen & Bath and King's Town Dental

    Living wage employers are leaders among their peers, and deserve to be recognized for their commitment to decent work. For that reason it was great to see this event receive so much coverage from the local media... 

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  • signed up on Newsletter Signup 2016-10-30 17:37:17 -0400

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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.