Kingston Moves Forward Towards a Living Wage

Submitted by Kingston on January 28, 2013 - 9:23am

 On December 4th, 2012 Kingston City Council passed a motion to direct staff to research the costs, benefits and implications of providing all City staff, including contracted workers and students with a living wage. The motion was brought forward by long-time city councillor, Bill Glover.

 

 

Councillor Glover says that the Occupy movement got him thinking about income disparity in the city. After attending meetings with other municipalities, and meeting extensively with various community organizations on this matter he decided to go forward with the motion asking council to direct staff to research the matter.

 

A Living Wage for Kingston has been on the poverty reduction agenda here for a long time with a number of community partners working on the issue. Using the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives model, the Living Wage Working Group calculates the Kingston Living Wage to be $16.29 per hour. The Kingston and District Labour Council featured the Living Wage as its theme at Labour Day celebrations in September, 2012. Additionally, the Community Foundation for Kingston and Area’s latest Vital Signs report highlighted that "Health = a rewarding job with a living wage"

Kingston’s Poverty Reduction Plan also identifies the Living Wage as a key goal in developing strategies to reduce poverty in our city. The plan is based on extensive community consultation which brings together the experience, the reality and the solutions voiced by our community organizations, agencies and individuals, along with the work already taking place in the community.

Among the five strategic focus areas of Kingston’s Poverty Reduction Plan, Skills Development and Employment emerged as a priority, including the following three goals:

  • An economic plan that creates living-wage employment opportunities
  • A community that understand and embraces the benefits to the entire community of providing living wage jobs
  • Enhancing skills and employment potential of people to access living wage jobs.

Many of us in Kingston believe that providing a living wage is a necessary part of the strategy to break the cycles of poverty in Kingston. We are thrilled that our City Council is taking a leadership role asking staff to research a Living Wage policy for Kingston. We look forward to their recommendations on this important issue.

To read the motion that went to Kingston City Council, see page 8 of the council agenda at:

 

 

http://www.cityofkingston.ca/pdf/council/agenda/2013/COU_Agenda-0113.pdf

To learn more about the Kingston Poverty Reduction Plan, go to: http://www.unitedwaykfla.ca/community-impact/poverty-reduction/