Last fall, there were eight Living Wage Employers in the Comox Valley.
The number has since doubled, but the Comox Valley Social Planning Society is always trying to promote a greater number of private operations or non-profits to certify as Living Wage Employers.
Living wage refers to the hourly amount two working parents need to afford the basics: food, rent, clothing and child care. The current rate is $16.44 per hour, but a new living wage will be calculated for the Comox Valley this fall and announced at the beginning of November.
“Paying a living wage is good for employers, workers and communities,” society president Betty Tate said. “While most local governments and large employers are already paying a living wage, becoming certified as a living wage employer shows commitment and leadership in our community.”
Living wage employers pay direct and contract staff the living wage for their region. While minimum wage is a government response to address working poverty, the living wage is an employer’s opportunity to address the same problem, according to Living Wage for Families BC.
The Social Planning Society will be asking all municipal candidates if they support their local government certifying as a Living Wage Employer. At present, there are 11 municipalities, three school districts and two First Nation councils in B.C. that are certified Living Wage Employers. None of them are in the Comox Valley.