Living wage now in effect

Huu-ay-aht Executive Council has passed its motion to adopt a living wage for its employees.

They adopted the living wage motion at their most recent council meeting. This means the Nations will adopt a living wage that has been calculated for Port Alberni is $17.22 per hour, or $33,579 annually. Using the Canadian Living Wage Framework as its guide, Huu-ay-aht has agreed to adopt this as their minimum wage. By doing so, it becomes the second community in BC to adopt a living wage policy for its employees.

The new pay will take effect in the next pay period.

The idea came out of respect of all Huu-ay-aht employees and based on the belief that B.C.’s current minimum wage is not high enough to meet the needs of families to promote health and wellbeing.

Huu-ay-aht believes people should not have to decide between paying rent and feeding their family, and with today’s high cost of living, this is a reality many people face. According to the Living Wage for Families Campaign, in 2013, 1.8 million employed people in Canada do not make enough to pull themselves above the poverty level. Many are forced to rely on food banks in order to get by.

A living wage is different from minimum wage in that it takes into account the amount a family needs to cover basic expenses. These are the barebones costs with no extras, but it is calculated as a total compensation, including wage and benefits. Where the minimum wage focuses on the needs of a lone individual, the living wage focuses on the needs of families and includes medical and health needs, food security, transportation, and skills development.

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