“If we set the bar on what we can endure, we will never thrive as a community or economy,” asserts Francesca Dobbyn, Executive Director of United Way of Bruce Grey. “A living wage adds to the economy, building capacity and reducing people’s dependency on support programs. It allows one to live, not just exist.”
The United Way began issuing a living wage report in 2014 using a single income family profile. To add their voice to the provincial Ontario Living Wage (www.ontariolivingwage.ca) call for action, the United Way reconfigured their data to align with the provincial representative family framework. The framework was developed by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
“A job should lift the employee out of poverty,” Dobbyn explains further. “With the significant increases to the cost of housing we see locally, people are working yet sliding further and further into poverty.” While no one should live below the poverty line, there is an understanding and an expectation that being employed should lift that person, and their family, out of poverty. The United Way is also pleased to report that they, themselves, are a living wage employer and will be starting a campaign to recognize local living wage employers in the region in 2020.
The living wage rate is based on a two-income, full-time at 35 hours a week, family with a seven-year-old child who requires before-and after-school childcare and a three-year-old child who requires full-time year round childcare. This family lives in a three-bedroom apartment, paying ONLY for electricity. Due to the lack of rural transportation, this family needs two vehicles to maintain their employment. Neither job provides benefits so they are paying for benefits themselves along with critical illness insurance. One parent is participating in educational upgrading at the local college with a plan to get a better job.
The budget does not include funds for:
· Education savings for the children
· Home-ownership costs
· Costs to care take a family member
· Social engagements
· Debt repayments
For more information on the Living Wage report please contact Francesca Dobbyn at 519-376-1560 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on Living Wage Ontario, please contact Anne Coleman, Campaign Manager Manager@ontariolivingwage.ca Ontario Living Wage Network