A recent report from CIBC raised an alarm on declining job quality in Canada. More jobs that pay low wages are undermining Canada’s economy. The trend also makes income inequality worse.
It does not have to be that way. In Waterloo Region, there are employers who are working to reverse that downward trend.
Since the launch of Living Wage Waterloo Region in November 2014, fifteen organizations have signed on as living wage employers.
It is commonly held that work is the best pathway out of poverty. The living wage takes that view seriously. It figures out what you actually need to earn to be above the poverty line and to participate in the life of your community.
The living wage in Waterloo Region for 2014-15 is $16 an hour. That’s the hourly wage you need to earn working full-time to pay for housing, a nutritious diet, transportation, clothing, and insurance for dental, vision and prescriptions. It also allows for social inclusion, covering the cost of phone and internet, some recreation and outings and a modest vacation.
The Living Wage Employers Program encourages participating employers to raise the wages of all their workers to the living wage rate or higher. In fact, it is a requirement of the program. For those that entered the program as Champions, the highest level attainable, they already do that. Employers that entered at the Partner, Supporter or Leader levels already pay their full-time staff a living wage.