Canada's Living Wage Movement

Submitted by Donna Jean Fors... on April 15, 2014 - 12:59pm
A roundup from a 2014 Gathering of Living Wage Leaders in Canada

On March 25, 2014, over 45 living wage leaders from all across Canada gathered in Toronto to learn, share and connect as they begin to seed a movement towards a living wage in Canada.  Another 20+ people were able to participate via a live stream of the day's events. 

You can find the notes from the event here. The notes include the discussion as well as links to the videos of the conversation. 

We started the day with an amazing presentation from Deborah Littman, Lead Organizer with the Metro Vancouver Alliance.  Her experience with Living Wage UK is inspirational and very insightful.  You can find the video of her presentation here

Then we were able to hear from an employer panel of Ben Janzen from Mennonite Savings and Credit Union, Mark Wiengartner, City of Hamilton and Joey Edwardh, Community Development Halton.  This was a great way to begin to think about how to engage living wage employers - we spent a lot of time asking questions!  You can find the video of this panel here.

After lunch we heard about a new multimedia website the CCPA will be launching soon that will feature stories of the living wage - stay tuned for more details about that.

Then we were fortunate to hear from Trish Hennessy, CCPA-ON and Adam Vasey, Pathway to Potential about the intersection of the living wage and minimum wage.  They talked about the persistent confusion between the living wage and minimum wage and how to frame the living wage conversation in a way that resonates with the general population.  You can find their conversation here:

One last presentation was from a Carleton University student who is leading some research into best practices in living wage campaigns.  They are just wrapping up the research and now able to present the findings.  You can find a prezi of that research here

During the day we also watched some new videos from LIving Wage Hamilton about a living wage employer (Mission Services) and we also heard from Isabella about the value of paying a living wage would have on her family life.  Find that video here.

To wrap up the day we broke into roundtables to talk about how to start a living wage campaign, how to calculate the living wage and how to engage employers.  This was a rich conversation and you can see the details in the attached notes.

So, where do we go from here?

If you are interested in learning more about Living Wage in Canada be sure to access:

We have a Community of Practice that meets a few times per year that is open to anyone involved in a Living Wage campaign - spread the word.  This group will be determining the next steps.  Contact me if you are interested in participating. 

In Ontario, Living Wage Campaigns are joining together to form an alliance and do some collective province-wide planning - they are looking at employer certification, consistent messaging and calculations among other things.  Living Wage Waterloo Region is leading the organization of this. 

Liz Weaver attended this gathering and wrote a blog about seeing a movement.  Find it here:

There will be more to come so stay tuned!!