United Way invests in opportunity as Living Wage Employer

United Way Elgin Middlesex staff celebrates Living Wage Week with Luis Patricio and Michael Courey from the London Poverty Research Centre, Living Wage Ontario’s local representative

United Way Elgin Middlesex joins the ranks of living wage employers today, signalling that paying people at least enough to meet basic needs for shelter, food and recreation is a critical investment in our community.

“Paying a living wage is integral to our core values,” says Kelly Ziegner, President & CEO, United Way Elgin Middlesex. “We believe in a community where everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential and that starts with our staff.”

London’s new living wage is $16.20, up from $15.53 in 2015. In St. Thomas and Elgin County, the new living wage is $16.57, reflecting higher costs of rural living such as transportation.

A living wage is the hourly rate of pay a worker needs to earn to meet basic expenses and participate in their community. A living wage is not the same as minimum wage, the minimum set by the provincial government that all employers must pay.

The London Poverty Research Centre (LRCP), lead agency for Living Wage Ontario in London, made the announcement as part of Living Wage Week Nov. 4 to 10.

United Way earned top rank as a Champion and joins 252 organizations listed in the Ontario Living Wage Employer Directory, including 15 in London. This initiative achieves United Way-led London for All’s poverty reduction recommendations to establish the living wage figure for London, and to promote the business case for employers to pay a living wage and acknowledge those who are already doing so.

“A living wage gets families out of severe financial stress by lifting them out of poverty and providing a basic level of economic security,” says Luis Patricio, Research Assistant LRCP. “Living Wage Week is a call to private and public sector employers to pay wages sufficient to provide the basics and participate in community life.”

The 2019 living wage was generated using the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Ontario Living Wage Calculator. This tool, based on the Canadian Living Wage Framework: A National Methodology for Calculating the Living Wage in Your Community and the Ontario Family Expense Workbook, will be updated annually by local community members.

Learn more at https://www.ontariolivingwage.ca/

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