I have been involved with the living wage here in Ontario for the last 5 years. First with Living Wage Waterloo Region, and then with the Ontario Living Wage Network. It has been very gratifying to see the growth in the number of employers who have joined the living wage movement Ontario, and the impact this is having for workers in our province.
In my time, I’ve seen the number of regions with calculations grow from single digits to 22. I’ve seen the number of employers explode to over 225. I’ve seen the living wage movement expand to new communities such as Thunder Bay, Simcoe County and Norththumberland County.
Out of curiosity, we wondered what the growth looked like over time since the spring of 2017:
Of note is the spike in certifications by late summer of 2018. At the time we were creating 6 brand new calculations, and updating 9 existing ones. We had never had so much calculation activity in such a short timeframe. Thank you to all the local organizers who took on the challenge with us. I look forward to another spike for this year’s #LivingWageWeek (Nov 4th – 10th).
Another area of growth for the living wage movement that I’ve noticed is the amount of interest from local media. My Google Alerts service–which sends a summary email when new content with the term “living wage” is posted somewhere in Ontario–seems to go off every other day. Local media is interested in hearing about employers who recognize that paying their workers a living wage is good for business and community.
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In this update: SELECTED MEDIA COVERAGE | FEATURED EMPLOYER | NEW DECALS AND OTHER MATERIALS
SELECTED MEDIA COVERAGE
- Insurance industry trade magazine Canadian Underwriters profiled ServiceMaster Restore of Niagara, a certified living wage employer. They published a great quote: “Providing a living wage is a huge part of attracting and retaining quality staff. Good employees are a company’s biggest asset, and by paying them fairly we show our respect and appreciation to the people who make our business possible.” The most effective recruiters are living wage employers speaking to other business owners. Well done everyone at ServiceMaster Restore. Read the article here.
Each month we'll showcase a newly certified living wage employer. This Month it is Thunder Bay's Kinna-aweya Legal Clinic.
This community legal clinic is an independent organization with an all-Aboriginal Board of Directors. They are funded by Legal Aid Ontario.
“Kinna-aweya” is the Ojibway word
Kinna-aweya provides legal advice and assistance to all low-income residents in the District of Thunder Bay. Their services are offered at no cost to people with low-incomes who meet the financial eligibility guidelines.
The legal clinic's focus is on helping people get income maintenance benefits and maintain access to housing.
They also organize and present community legal education workshops and work with the community for organized, positive change.
An outstanding addition to our living wage employer directory.
NEW DECALS AND OTHER MATERIALS
We will be distributing an 11 inch wide (28cm) wide version of our employer decal that is appropriately-sized for vehicles and trailers.
We will also make available a 6 inch wide version that is between the two shown in size. Another change is that our employer decals now include a simplified and more legible web address: livingwage.ca.
Certified employers will receive an order form shortly, when the 6 inch versions come off the press.
Rack cards and other materials that we can all use to promote and communicate the living wage are in the production pipeline, so stay tuned...