Living Wage – A Community Investment in Shared Prosperity

All members of our community deserve equal opportunity for development, growth, and prosperity. Unfortunately, we have learned that for many in our community, this is not the case. We have heard the stories of precarious employment; low wage, temporary part-time only positions, uncertain scheduling, and a lack of job security; all resulting in a workforce that struggles to hold multiple jobs and is burdened by the stress of working while remaining in poverty. Not just a concern for workers, employers and business owners see a high turnover rate, absenteeism, low morale, loss of productivity, and a community that becomes economically unavailable to support business growth and development.

What can our community do? We can become Living Wage employers, we can support Living Wage employers, and we can educate each other on what it means to live in a community that values shared prosperity. In recognition of the Living Wage Week in Canada, we celebrate those employers who value social and community investments while appreciating the economic benefits of signing on as a Living Wage provider.

What is a Living Wage? The methodology for a Living Wage calculation considers the local context and is calculated municipality by municipality, with the regional cost of living.  The calculation specifies the hourly rate required for a household comprised of 2 adults working in full-time employment with 2 children to conservatively cover basic expenses such as food, shelter, clothing, and transportation while allowing the family to actively participate in society, fostering inclusion and social well-being. (http://www.ontariolivingwage.ca/what_is_the_living_wage)

Employers across the country have learned, through experience, that the “high turnover and low-wage” employment model is a myth and is damaging to business development. Debunking this myth, employers now recognize the importance of investing in their employees, creating work environments that are sustainable and productive.

The Income and Employment Security Working Group of the Poverty Roundtable is currently working through calculations to establish the Living Wage rate for our community. For more information and to get involved with the Roundtable please contact us at prt@povertyroundtablehpe.ca

The Roundtable would like to invite business owners and employees to share their experiences and learn more about a Living Wage.

More on the Living Wage can be found here:

Living Wage Canada: http://www.livingwagecanada.ca/index.php/blog/living-wage-week-canada/

Living Wage Ontario: http://www.ontariolivingwage.ca/

Business perspective from Muskoka Brewery, the first Living Wage brewery in Canada: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtb6fETlXaw

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Belleville, ON K8N 2S6

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