Living Wage - why not?

By Crystal Wilson

We're sitting at the Guelph Wellington living wage learning and recognition event and I am fired up, friends.  

Hearing stats like these:

  • 7.3% of the Ontario population are classified as “working poor” - which is a higher number than those who are on social assistance
  • The two richest cities in Canada have the highest instance of working poverty. Likely because of the high concentration of investment bankers and sunshine listers in those regions. More or less creating miniature versions of Downton Abbey (thanks to John Stapleton for that comparison!) Where serving the rich becomes the work of the most poor because the middle class has vanished.

 Is making me feel like this:

Why is this ok?

Why is it the norm for business owners to increase their wealth by sacrificing the livelihood of their employees, the very people whose effort is building their bank account? How have we gotten to a place where this growing gap is acceptable? But more importantly - How the heck heck do we turn it around?

 Flow started out from the get-go with a commitment to pay all of our employees above a living wage. It wasn't even a question, and we knew there would be sacrifices involved for us as owners but we also recognized that the end benefits to our team, our local economy, and our own business would greatly outweigh the struggles we as owners would endure to fulfill our commitment to paying a living wage. We are happy to be a part of a community that is working to make this better. As of Nov 1 2016 there are 22 official living wage employers in Guelph Wellington, paying at least $16.50/hr with a total of 2200 employees and that is a fantastic start!

 Do you pay a living wage? Do you earn one?  What could change if you did?