It's official: City of Burnaby is a living wage employer

A living wage advocate offered “hearty congratulations” to Burnaby city council Monday evening as she presented the city with a living wage certification.

Adrienne Montani, provincial coordinator of First Call: BC Child & Youth Advocacy Coalition, said her organization recently published its 23rd child poverty report card. She said the report found one-in-five children in the province are still growing up in poverty.

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“We know that growing up in poverty undermines children’s health,” Montani said. “We also know that most poor children in the province live with parents who are in the workforce, or in low-wage work or precarious work.”

First Call also calculates the living wage for Metro Vancouver each year, based on the income needed in a family with two parents and two children to cover a “conservative budget of expenses, food, shelter, transit, transportation, child care and other necessities.”

Through that work, First Call offers a living wage certification for employers who pay all employees the living wage and require all significant contractors to do the same.

The City of Burnaby now joins six other municipal governments in B.C. who have attained the living wage certification, Montani told council.

“And this council’s speedy implementation is particularly appreciated,” she said.

All city staff were paid at the living wage calculated by First Call as of Oct. 1, 2019, and as of Jan. 1, 2020, all contractors and subcontractors must pay a living wage to their employees when working a city contract. First Call officially approved the city’s living wage certification on Jan. 9.

“Being a living wage employer is about investing in our employees, helping families make ends meet and building a stronger community,” said Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley in a news release. “We are proud to raise the bar and set an example for other employers.”

According to a staff report last year, 351 of the city’s 4,000 employees were set to get a raise thanks to the commitment to a living wage, which was calculated last year at $19.50.

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