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City of Vancouver now a certified Living Wage employer

June 8 2017 Largest city in Canada to commit to a living wage

"Paying a living wage is an investment in our community and economy, and I encourage other local employers to take this step so families of all incomes and backgrounds can afford to live and work in Vancouver." said Mayor Gregor Robertson.

City Hall's 12th Avenue entrance

The City, Park Board, and Vancouver Police Department have taken steps to reduce inequality by becoming living wage employers, certified by the Living Wage for Families Campaign External website (LWFC), a Vancouver-based organization that has certified a range of employers.

Our living wage certification includes the City of Vancouver and Park Board staff and vendors.

The Vancouver Police Department submitted a separate application that was also approved at the same time.

The City of Vancouver joins several local governments in BC who have successfully implemented living wage policies:

  • Ucluelet First Nation
  • Huu-ay-aht First Nations
  • City of New Westminster
  • City of Quesnel
  • City of Port Coquitlam 

Living wage standards

As a certified living wage employer, the City is committed to paying employees and employees of externally contracted service providers a living wage.

Metro Vancouver's living wage rate for 2017 is $20.62 including direct wages and the value of non-mandatory benefits.

Our Procurement Policy was updated on May 1 to reflect living wage standards for services purchased in support of City and Park Board operations.

Our living wage requirements apply to vendors who provide services and meet all of the following criteria:

  • Estimated annual value of the contract is greater than $250,000.
  • Services are performed on properties owned by or leased to the City including all streets, sidewalks and other public rights of way.
  • Services are provided on a regular, ongoing basis.
  • Contractor is expected to perform the services for greater than 120 hours per year of the contract.

Living wage standards are not applicable for:

  • Emergency or non-recurring repairs or maintenance services where no standing contract is in place.
  • Services performed by organizations that lease property from the City.
  • Contracts with social enterprises.

The living wage standards in our Procurement Policy are applicable to new service contracts that meet the above criteria.

The living wage is the hourly rate required for two working adults to meet the basic needs of a family of four such as rent, food, transportation and childcare. It is calculated annually by LWFC and is based on the regional cost of living. It does not include pension savings, debt service, or many other routine expenses.

Learn more about how the living wage is calculated. External website

City employees are already compensated at the current living wage rate, as are many contracted staff.

Healthy City Strategy

In July 2015, Council approved a motion affirming its commitment to have the City of Vancouver become certified as a Living Wage Employer and directed staff to report back on the steps necessary to achieve that goal.

This initiative is part of our Healthy City Strategy which includes 19 high-priority actions for 2015 - 2018, outlining an approach to respond to the guiding principles, long term goals and indicators for achieving and measuring progress which included becoming a living wage employer.

Adopting a living wage policy demonstrates the our commitment to support Vancouver residents and families, and healthy, thriving communities.

Learn more about our committment as a living wage employer.

Quotes

Mayor Gregor Robertson

"Vancouver's economy is booming, yet too many hard working families are left behind because of Vancouver's affordability challenges," says Mayor Gregor Robertson. "As Mayor, I'm proud that Vancouver is leading by example as Canada's largest living wage employer. Paying a living wage is an investment in our community and economy, and I encourage other local employers to take this step so families of all incomes and backgrounds can afford to live and work in Vancouver."

Vancouver Park Board Chair Michael Wiebe

"I'm very pleased that the Park Board unanimously endorsed the City of Vancouver's living wage certification requirements," says Vancouver Park Board Chair Michael Wiebe. "This is a Park Board opportunity to address working poverty and invest in the long-term prosperity of our city."

Deputy Chief Constable Steve Rai with the Vancouver Police Department

"Our people are a top priority. Our members and contract staff all play a role in helping to keep Vancouver safe," says Deputy Chief Constable Steve Rai with the Vancouver Police Department. "It's important to the Vancouver Police Department that we show our support for this initiative to help ensure the people who serve this city can afford to meet basic needs."

Deanna Ogle, Campaign Organizer with the Living Wage for Families Campaign

"In implementing a living wage for all City staff and contractors, the City of Vancouver is demonstrating leadership on the issue of affordability," says Deanna Ogle, Campaign Organizer with the Living Wage for Families Campaign. "We all know that Vancouver is an expensive place to live. A living wage allows City staff and contractors to breathe a little easier at the end of the month."