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Living wage

We are a living wage employer, effective May 1, 2017. Vancouver is the largest city in Canada to commit to the living wage.

As a certified living wage employer, we are committed to compensating our direct employees and contracted services employees a living wage.

Adopting a living wage policy is a priority of our Healthy City Strategy and demonstrates our commitment to support healthy, thriving communities and help individuals and families make ends meet.

What is a living wage

The living wage is the hourly rate required for two working adults to meet the basic needs of a family of four. It is calculated annually by the Living Wage for Families Campaign (LWFC) and is based on regional cost of living.

The living wage includes direct wages and the value of non-mandatory benefits, such as paid sick leave, and extended health benefits.

Visit LWFC  for the current living wage rate for Metro Vancouver.

With the cost of living in Metro Vancouver continuing to increase, living wage rates are also expected to continue rising over time. Decreases in the rate are rare, however this was the case for 2019 as a direct result of the Province’s Affordable Child Care Benefit and Universal Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative. In support of the City’s commitment to poverty reduction, the City will maintain its 2018 living wage rate ($20.91) regardless of the decrease in the published living wage, and have requested City vendors to do the same. 

Who needs to pay a living wage

Vendors who provide services that meet the following living wage criteria need to ensure that employees (including employees of subcontractors) who perform these services are paid a living wage:

  • Estimated annual value of the contract is greater than $250,000
  • Services are to be 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.

The 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

What this policy means to you

Our Procurement Policy (section 11A) (110 KB) incorporates living wage standards for services purchased in support of City and Park Board operations, effective May 1, 2017. These standards are included in our bid processes and applicable new service contracts. Contracts signed prior to May 1, 2017 are not impacted.

Service contracts that meet the living wage criteria need to ensure that the rates paid to employees of the contractor, and any subcontractors, meet the highest living wage standard. Contractors are asked to submit bid pricing schedules that reflect the living wage rate where applicable.

For questions about our living wage requirements, email livingwage@vancouver.ca.

Ask questions about living wage

For concerns about non-compliance with our living wage standards, contact the Living Wage for Families Campaign (LWFC) at info@livingwageforfamilies.ca or 604-975-3347. We are committed to working in partnership with the LWFC and vendors to uphold these standards.