Sieffert’s Farm Market in Comox is the first farm to certify as a Living Wage Employer within the province. Facebook photo

Sieffert’s Farm Market in Comox is the first farm to certify as a Living Wage Employer within the province. Facebook photo

Comox’s Sieffert’s Farm Market first certified farm in B.C. to offer living wage

“We are a local business who exists in the Valley because the Valley supports us.”

Sieffert’s Farm Market, Lazo & Tyee Farm Ltd. in Comox has set the bar for other farms in British Columbia, as they are the first farm to certify as a Living Wage Employer within the province.

The living wage is the hourly amount a family needs to cover basic expenses; it includes costs such as rent and groceries as well as extended health care and two weeks of saving for each adult (it doesn’t include debt repayment or savings for future plans).

In the Comox Valley, the living wage is $16.44/hr, according to Living Wage for Families BC.

“We are a local business who exists in the Valley because the Valley supports us,” said Alicia Sieffert. “When we looked into it, we have so many people we have the privilege to work with and you always want to make sure they are getting the wage to support themselves and their future goals.”

The family-owned farm in the Comox Valley has a farm market and takes commercial orders for wholesale and grocery stores. They currently farm a variety of crops including potatoes, carrots and onions.

Sieffert, along with her mother Charlene knew that offering a living wage is part of helping their seasonal workers, many of which return year after year; they don’t hire temporary foreign workers on their farm.

One employee began working at the farm when she was 15 years old, returning each summer. Now Seiffert said the employee is looking at entering medical school and she hopes working at Siefferts can help support those goals.

“It’s really fun – it’s kind of like watching a family grow up.”

As for the effect on their business, they don’t believe offering a living wage will drastically impact their pricing. Sieffert noted many factors will impact pricing including the cost of fuel, and the farm sets their price based on the cost of production and what is a fair market value.

“In our current climate, you’ll cover (the increased wage) in productivity in staff who get a living wage,” explained Charlene.

At the height of their summer season, Sieffert employs between 55 to 60 full-time staff, and that number can grow up to 80 people with short-term staff. They understand labour shortages could impact hiring this year, and hope a living wage could be one of a few factors to attract employees to their farm.

In the province, there are 300 registered Living Wage Employers. In order to become registered, a business (depending on the size) either fills out an application form or drafts an implementation plan. The business then applies for certification through Living Wage for Families BC.

In the Comox Valley, there are more than 10 employers officially registered. To view the list, visit livingwageforfamilies.ca/comox_valley.



photos@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Community

Be Among The First To Know

Sign up for a free account today, and receive top headlines in your inbox Monday to Saturday.

Sign Up with google Sign Up with facebook

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Reset your password

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

A link has been emailed to you - check your inbox.



Don't have an account? Click here to sign up