Vancity challenges B.C. businesses to pay living wage

B.C.’s minimum wage is half what a living wage is calculated to be for Metro Vancouver, and Vancity credit union – Canada’s largest living-wage employer – is challenging other B.C. banks and business to follow its lead.

B.C.’s minimum wage is half what a living wage is calculated to be for Metro Vancouver, and Vancity credit union – Canada’s largest living-wage employer – is challenging other B.C. banks and business to follow its lead.

Vancity was recently recertified as a Canada’s largest living-wage employer, and is now pushing other businesses to follow suit.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives calculates a living wage for Metro Vancouver to be $19.62 per hour, which is how much Vancity pays its employees. B.C.’s minimum wage is $10.25 per hour.

According to living-wage proponents, low wages have a negative impact on the economy because it limits the buying power of so many citizens.

Ellen Pekeles, senior vice-president of operations for Vancity, has issued a challenge to B.C. businesses to start paying living wages to their employees.

“If both parents in a family are working full-time, their children should not be living in poverty,” Pekeles said.

“Just as we consider our environmental footprint, it’s our hope that more B.C. employers will consider their social and economic impact and pay their employees a living wage.”

In addition to paying its own employees a living wage, Vancity also pays a living wage to the employees of major suppliers through its contracts with those companies. That includes janitors, caterers and security guards.

Employers who want to learn more about becoming a living-wage employer can visit http://www.lwemployers.ca.

nbennett@biv.com

@nbennett_biv