The City of Vancouver will become the first major city in Canada to become a certified Living Wage Employer, it has been announced.
Certification will mean that all City employees and sub-contractors will be compensated at or above Metro Vancouver’s living wage rate, which currently stands at $20.64 per hour.
“Vancouver’s economic growth is leading the nation, yet too many hard-working families are left behind due to affordability challenges,” Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a release. “Becoming a certified Living Wage Employer sets Vancouver apart as a city that strives to ensure all families have the opportunity and economic security to thrive. A living wage will ensure that families of all backgrounds can afford to live and work in Vancouver, making our neighbourhoods healthier and stronger.”
The City will seek certification through the Living Wage for Families Campaign, a Vancouver-based organization that has already certified a range of employers, including Vancity credit union, the City of New Westminster, SAP, and the United Way.
“The City of Vancouver is demonstrating real leadership in its move to implement a living wage for all city staff and contractors,” said Deanna Ogle, Campaign Organizer with the Living Wage for Families Campaign. “Implementing a living wage is a small cost for a big impact in the lives of low-wage workers and contractors who will breathe a little easier at the end of the month.”
Part of the City of Vancouver’s Healthy City Strategy, Living Wage certification was originally proposed in July 2015, and staff will have until July 2017 to report back on their progress. They will also then update the council on the implications for other civic agencies such as Vancouver Public Library and Vancouver Police Department, which the City will also encourage and support to pursue Living Wage certification.
Different to the minimum wage, the Living Wage is the hourly amount a family needs to cover basic living expenses in Vancouver. Calculations are based on a two parent family with two children and include considerations like food, clothing, rental housing, child care, transportation, and savings.