September 21, 2016 (Vancouver, BC) – Council has approved pursuing Living Wage Employer certification for all City of Vancouver employees and sub-contractors to be compensated at or above Metro Vancouver’s living wage rate of $20.64 per hour, including direct salary and certain benefits.Read more
The City of Parksville became the fourth municipality in BC to pass a living wage policy on June 6, 2016.Read more
Living Wage for Families BC
Question? Please drop us an email - [email protected] or give us a call 604-652-4623
Our office is located on the ancestral, traditional and unceded territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-waututh) Nations.
History of Living Wage for Families BC
In 2006, Campaign 2000 initiated a two-year project called Addressing the Falling Fortunes of Young Children and their Families: A Community Building Approach. First Call Child and Youth Advocacy Society was the Vancouver partner for this project. This came out of their work on child poverty and recognizing how many poor children were living in homes where at least one parent was working full-time, full-year.
In spring 2007 First Call co-sponsored a research project with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) to calculate living-wage baselines for Vancouver and Victoria. This joint research group included representatives from the University of BC's sociology department and Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP), the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria, SPARC BC, United Way of the Lower Mainland and the Hospital Employees' Union (HEU). In September 2008, First Call, the CCPA and the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria released their research report Working for a Living Wage.
The Hospital Employees' Union launched its Living Wage Campaign in 2007 in part to address the poverty wages and unsafe working conditions for health care workers employed by multinational corporations that had secured multimillion-dollar, taxpayer-funded contracts to provide services in BC hospitals and long-term care homes.
In fall 2008 First Call, the CCPA-BC and HEU established a living wage advisory committee to oversee strategy, and in 2009, funds were raised to hire an organizer employed by First Call. With the guidance and support of the advisory committee members, the Living Wage for Families campaign developed a certification program that, over the following 14 years, certified hundreds of employers who committed to paying their direct staff and many contracted workers a living wage.
In the fall of 2022, First Call ended their operation of the certification program and Vancity Community Foundation began operating it.
2010: The Living Wage Employer recognition process was established.
2011: The City of New Westminster became the first municipality to certify as a Living Wage Employer.
2011: Vancity Credit Union signed on as a Living Wage Employer.
2011: The BC Federation of Labour and Canadian Labour Congress conventions endorsed living wage campaigns by unions and labour councils and encouraged the support of the Living Wage for Families Campaign.
2015: Huu-ay-aht First Nation became the first First Nations government to become a Living Wage Employer.
2015: School District 69 - Qualicum became the first Board of Education in BC to certify as a Living Wage Employer.
2016: The City of Port Coquitlam became a certified Living Wage Employer.
2017: The City of Vancouver became a certified Living Wage Employer.
2020: The cities of Victoria and Burnaby became certified Living Wage Employers.
2022: Living Wage for Families BC has certified over 350 employers, impacting over 30,000 direct staff and countless contractors.
2022: Vancity Community Foundation assumes operations of a living wage employer certification program from First Call Child and Youth Advocacy Society
Apply for Living Wage certification
If you are already a Living Wage Employer and wish to recertify, please submit your recertification information using this form.
The living wage is a regional calculation that looks at the amount that a family of four, two adults working full year, full time, need to earn to meet their expenses. The living wage allows working families to support the healthy development of their children and participate in the social, civic and cultural lives of their communities.
Step 1: Determine the living wage in your region
You can see a map of the BC communities that have calculated a living wage rate. If you don’t see your community listed on the map or if you have any questions email us at [email protected]. We can help!
To calculate the living wage rate for each employer we take into account their employees’ total compensation package (wage + benefits). If employees receive non-mandatory benefits like extended health benefits, the living wage rate is reduced to take this into account. We have developed a calculator to work out the value of your benefits.
Step 2: Make a plan
A clear plan to bring your staff up to the Living Wage essential. Our Guide to Becoming a Living Wage Employer provides information on the criteria for certification and other information employers need to know.
Step 3: Apply for certification
- If you are a small employer with under 50 staff, and based in one Living Wage region you can fill out this application form
- If you are a large employer (50 or more staff and/or based in more than one region), you will need to draft an implementation plan. Refer to the Employers Guide for more information.
Please contact us to answer any questions you might have. All conversations are confidential and we won’t rush you through the process.
Once you have submitted your living wage application form or implementation plan, it will be reviewed by a committee of employers. This committee will approve your plan or ask for more information to strengthen your application. This process is to help you have as strong an implementation plan as possible.
To help recover the costs required to administer the program, we have introduced certification and re-certification fees for Living Wage Employers. Read our blog post to find out more about this decision.
|Type of organisation||Number of Staff in BC||Price of Certification|
|Non Profit/Public Bodies||0-50||$100|
There will also be an additional charge for employers wanting to receive a Living Wage plaque.
Ready to apply?
Submit your initial application information using this form.
- Living Wage Employers pay all direct and contract staff the living wage rate for their region.
- Living Wage Employers recognize that paying a living wage is an investment in the long-term prosperity of the economy.
- We all have a role to play in ending poverty. The minimum wage is a government response to address working poverty. The living wage is an employer’s opportunity to address the same problem.
Paying a living wage
The living wage is a bare-bones calculation that looks at the amount that a family of four needs to earn to meet their expenses. The living wage includes costs like rent and groceries as well as items like extended health care and two weeks savings for each adult. It does not include debt repayment or savings for future plans.
To calculate the living wage rate, employers take into account their employees’ total wage plus benefits. If employees receive non-mandatory benefits, the living wage rate is reduced. See our benefits calculator for details.
Learn more about becoming a Living Wage Employer.
What are the benefits of a living wage?
Good for employers
Employers have found that implementing a living wage has increased their employee recruitment and retention. Vancity saw that the most significant impact was the swelling of pride in all staff after implementing a living wage. Staff at Living Wage Employers are proud to contribute to a company that ensures that no one is left behind.
"A living wage supports our organization's mission to promote equality, fairness and social inclusion." - BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre
Good for our community
We all pay for poverty in our communities. We pay in increased use of emergency health services when individuals aren’t able to afford to fill prescriptions. Our education system is stretched when parents aren’t able to support their children’s education because they are working multiple jobs. Investing in a living wage is investing in the health of our communities.
Good for the economy
When low-wage workers see an increase in their wages they spend their money locally. A living wage allows families to participate in the social, civic and cultural lives of their communities. They support local business and participate in community events. We all benefit when we reduce poverty in our communities.
Living Wage Employers
A Living Wage Employer is a responsible employer who cares about their employees and the community.
Join over 370 certified Living Wage Employers across BC in addressing poverty.
It has been an incredibly busy year for the Living Wage for Families Campaign. We thank all our supporters and employers who have helped grow the living wage movement and reduce low-wage poverty across BC.Read more