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.

"It is important that our team is appropriately compensated and appreciated for the work they do every day to feed our hungry neighbours. As the first employer in Peel Region to join the Ontario Living Wage Network, The Mississauga Food Bank wants to show our community that offering a living wage is doable, and encourage other organizations to participate" explains Candace Jarvis, Director of People and Culture.

When a new community is added to our network of living wage rates, it is imperative to have local advocates to help sign on more employers. Since certified living wage employers make the best recruiters, we then see a snowball effect.

"As an organization, the work we live and breathe is supporting those in our community who are struggling with food insecurity and living in poverty. We are advocating for every single person in our community to have a living wage, and that starts with us" Jarvis continues. 

Regional advocates are also key to making the calculations relevant to local realities. The Peel Poverty Reduction Committee has been a powerful addition to the Ontario Living Wage Network. They have assisted us with the calculation, and in celebrating our first employer. The Committee, which is supported by the Region of Peel, is also advancing the living wage dialogue with the Region's municipalities.

“Co-chaired by United Way of Greater Toronto and the Region of Peel, the Peel Poverty Reduction Committee is very proud to have our first Living Wage employer. With 12.8% of Peel’s population living in poverty and more than 50% of Peel neighborhoods considered to be low income, when organizations commit to invest in the well-being of  employees by paying a living wage, poverty in our communities is reduced.” said Sonia Pace, co-chair of the  Peel Poverty Reduction Committee.

“In order for us to continue making positive strides and progress in our 2018-2028 Peel Poverty Reduction Strategy, we encourage employers to become certified living wage employers and make Peel an affordable, and livable community for all”.

Local leadership like this is crucial to help us make the case for paying at least a living wage. If you work, you should be able to make ends meet. The recent ten cent raise for the province's lowest-paid workers is not the system change needed to solve working poverty.

We asked Candace what led The Mississauga Food Bank to certify, as we do of all employers who join:

"It is not uncommon now for individuals to have to work long hours, for low wages, and often two or three jobs just to pay for basic necessities. The Mississauga Food Bank sees clients who have to decide between buying food or paying rent each month. Everyone should have the right to healthy food, affordable housing and a living wage—which is why we advocate for policies such as a minimum income floor, protection for low–income renters, and more. The Mississauga Food Bank wants to show our community that we live what we believe by officially joining the OLWN. We are proud to be the first employer in Peel Region to become certified, and to make this commitment to offer at least a living wage to every staff member."

Employers report all manner of benefits to paying a living wage: low turnover, reduced training costs, increased morale, less fatigue, better recruitment. But the values that lead businesses and organizations to certify tend to be the same: a commitment to community, and a duty to respect their workers as more than just a cost to be controlled.

We're proud to list The Mississauga Food Bank as the first certified living wage employer in Peel. Stay tuned for more announcements from the region by signing up for our newsletter here. 

More information about becoming a living wage employer can be found at our certification page.

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  • Craig Pickthorne
    published this page in News 2021-11-01 10:38:28 -0400