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Living Locally

Living Wage sees first update since economic downturn

June 27, 2017

With Alberta’s minimum wage on the rise, and economic times tight for businesses this past couple of years, there hasn’t been much talk about a Living Wage.

This lesser known term refers to the hourly rate of pay needed for a family of four to live a modest lifestyle with small opportunities to save for the future.

As the cost of living varies from city to city, the Living Wage calculation for Calgary is managed by Vibrant Communities Calgary – a non-profit dedicated to reducing poverty through systemic change.

“It was with some surprise that the number remained unchanged over a two-year period, which in Calgary was fraught with significant economic difficulties,” says Franco Savoia, Executive Director at Vibrant Communities Calgary.

Vibrant Communities Calgary determines the Living Wage each year by compiling a complex set of data including household expenses, taxes, income and government benefits – including the new Canada Child Benefit program, which Franco says “nearly doubled” the income by way of transfers from 2015 to 2017.

“This scenario is exemplary of the ways in which the Living Wage calculation can demonstrate the impact of public policy on the ability of families to live a life of dignity.”

Vibrant Communities Calgary previously facilitated a Living Wage Leader program, which recognized local businesses and organizations in Calgary that pay employees at or above the Living Wage. The program was suspended when the City of Calgary tasked Vibrant Communities Calgary with stewarding the Enough for All poverty reduction strategy; however, many local businesses still proudly associate as Living Wage Leaders.

“Conversations this year have taken place with other Living Wage Initiatives in Alberta and elsewhere, to explore best practice and opportunities for re-invigorating our work related to Living Wages,” says Franco.

“We want to be sure that however we advance this work at Vibrant Communities Calgary and across the city, that it brings real value to Calgary businesses and employees.”


Click here to learn more about the Enough for All Strategy, and what you can do to help reduce poverty in Calgary.
For more information on the Living Wage, click here
Watch the video: Four Facts about Poverty in Calgary.
Connect with Vibrant Communities Calgary on Facebook and Twitter.
Check out Vibrant Communities Calgary’s Sustainability Profile or browse our directory for REAP businesses that pay a Living Wage.

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Did you know?

BC study shows shifting 10% of your spending to local businesses can create 31,000 new jobs & $940M in new wages