It is a priority of Huu-ay-aht First Nations that citizens are healthy, proud, and self-reliant. It is for this reason that Executive Council is excited to announce two new initiatives.
This spring, Huu-ay-aht government will be expanding the living wage program to include employees working for the Huu-ay-aht Group of Businesses.
In 2014, Huu-ay-aht became the first First Nations community in Canada to adopt a living wage policy for its employees. Huu-ay-aht government is pleased to announce it has created a program that will top up the wages of employees who work for the Huu-ay-aht Group of Businesses. This means HGB employees working for below $17.22 hourly will receive a subsidized increase, bringing them up to the minimum living wage, with direct payments to those employees from the Huu-ay-aht Government. This Government Wage Supplement Program will be implemented on May 1, 2017.
Huu-ay-aht believes that people should not have to choose between paying their rent and feeding their family. Today’s minimum wage in British Columbia means that families regularly have to make these difficult decisions.
“As our Nation continues to build itself up, opportunities must be given to the many employees who make that possible. If people live in poverty, then everything in their life is at risk – we want our employees to enjoy a higher quality of life, and that’s what a living wage will offer them.” explains Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr. “Our Treaty has given us the ability to make decisions that will lift up our community, we must share this, because working shouldn’t keep you in poverty, it should lift you out.”
The government has also allotted funds to improve the access road to the Sarita Cemetery. In the near future, citizens will see significant improvements thanks to some funding that has been made available for this project. This project is a significant one that will involve creating a new road to the burial sites in Sarita, allowing citizens better access to this sacred place. This project is expected to be complete by April 2017.
These decisions are based on promises made to citizen in the 2016-2020 Strategic Plan. These include commitments to promote employment of Huu-ay-aht citizens in secure, high paying jobs. By ensuring that staff are paid a fair wage, it will also help the Nation meet its goals of building stronger families. Improving access to the cemetery will help citizens connect to their home and cultures and values. By embracing ʔuuʔałuk, and fostering growth and capacity building in our citizens, we will ensure the success of our people, families, and Nation for generations to come.