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Living Wage Campaign

What is the Living Wage?

The living wage is how much a worker needs to earn to pay for basic essentials like food and rent, along with the ability to have an active and fulfilling family and personal life. It is calculated using a basic budget that does not include paying off debt, savings for the future or the cost of caring for a loved one. The Living Wage for Metro Vancouver is $25.68 an hour.

What is a Living Wage Employer?

Living Wage Employers commit to paying their staff and contractors their local living wage each year. They also mandate that service providers on major contracts pay their staff a living wage in turn. There are nearly 400 Living Wage Employers in BC who have committed to ensuring their direct and contracted staff earn a Living Wage. This wage can be made up of base pay and any non-mandatory benefits they offer. 10 municipalities in BC are Living Wage Employers – the City of Burnaby, City of Langley, City of New Westminster, City of North Vancouver, City of Pitt Meadows, City of Port Coquitlam, City of Quesnel, City of Victoria, District of Central Saanich and the Village of Fruitvale.

What happened with the City of Vancouver?

In 2016, the Mayor and Council at the City of Vancouver unanimously committed to a plan to implement the living wage for all contracts and direct staff at the City of Vancouver, the Vancouver Public Library and the Vancouver Police Department.  The City of Vancouver became the largest Living Wage municipality in Canada, and hundreds of casual workers and contractors received a wage increase.


At the time, the City of Vancouver reported that becoming a living wage employer was “very rewarding” and created “unintended positive consequences, impacting far more than just the City’s direct or contractual staff”. Staff reported receiving letters from “our graffiti removal services about employees saying just that it changed [their] life.”

And then in a behind closed doors meeting in February 2022, Councillors voted to end the City’s certification as a Living Wage Employer. Instead, they have opted to pay staff and contractors a “5 year rolling average” of the Living Wage

What does this mean for workers?

For city contractors (like cleaners and security guards) and casual workers (like cashiers, food servers, rink attendants and civic theater attendants) the new “rolling average” means they’re earning nearly $4 an hour less than the actual living wage.  

How can we get the City of Vancouver to become a Living Wage Employer again? In February 2024, Councillor Christine Boyle will be bringing a motion to council to try and get the City of Vancouver to become a Living Wage Employer again. Take action by emailing your local councillor today: https://www.onecityvancouver.ca/reinstate-living-wage

Articles

It’s Time to Recertify the City of Vancouver as a Living Wage Employer (by Christine Boyle and Stephen Von Sychowski)

Why Vancouver Should Be a Living Wage Employee (The Tyee)

Events

February 26th, 2024 – Living Wage Town Hall – Maritime Labour Center – 7:30-9:00pm

More info and registration link HERE