Through implementing a living wage the City of Vancouver has demonstrated that there is a role for employers in ending poverty.
The living wage is the amount that two parents working full-time, full-year need to earn in order to meet their costs in a community. The living wage in Metro Vancouver is $20.62/hr.
An employer is certified as a Living Wage Employer by the Living Wage for Families Campaign when they confirm that all direct staff are earning a combination of wages and benefits equal to the living wage and establish a process to ensure that contracted workers will also earn a living wage as the contracts are tendered or renegotiated. The Employers Committee, a committee made up of current Living Wage Employers, reviewed the implementation plan developed by the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Police Department and has recognized them as Living Wage Employers.
The journey to the City of Vancouver certifying as a living wage employer has been a multi-year collaborative effort on the part of the mayor and council, who, in 2015, voted unanimously in favour of this policy, and staff who have been working hard to see this plan through. City staff have shown a deep commitment to the living wage and the transformative role it can have for families.
In implementing a living wage for all city staff and contractors the City of Vancouver is demonstrating leadership on the issue of affordability. We all know that Vancouver is an expensive place to live, a living wage allows City of Vancouver staff and contractors to breathe a little easier at the end of the month.
Community organizations unions and activists have cheered on the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Police Department. Thank you to the Metro Vancouver Alliance, First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition, BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, the Vancouver and District Labour Council and the individuals activists who came out to events and contacted your city councillor.
The City of Vancouver joins the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Government - Ucluelet First Nation, Huu-ay-aht First Nations, New Westminster, Quesnel and Port Coquitlam as local governments in BC who have successfully implemented living wage policies. Pitt Meadows and Parksville have passed polices and are working towards implementation.
The living wage is one part of the City of Vancouver’s Healthy City Strategy. Through implementing a living wage the City of Vancouver has demonstrated that there is a role for employers in ending poverty.
Approximately, 34% of couple families in Vancouver are not earning a living wage. This is an issue that needs all levels government at the table; and not just government, low wage workers and people living in poverty have solutions. We need to be ready to hear their voices and take action towards a poverty free BC.
Today the City of Vancouver becomes largest Living Wage Employer in Canada. This is a remarkable show of leadership on the issue of low wage work. I am very excited to be here today with the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Police Department in order to congratulate them on their leadership and their investment in the economic health of their community. After all, work should lift you out of poverty, not keep you there.