PITT MEADOWS, BC – Pitt Meadows Council voted last night to work toward a Living Wage policy and pursue Certified Living Wage Employer status. The majority vote puts Pitt Meadows as the sixth municipality in BC who have adopted a Living Wage policy, or pursued Living Wage Employer status, joining the cities of New Westminster, Port Coquitlam, Vancouver, Quesnel, and the Huu-ay-aht First Nation.
The Living Wage for Families Campaign, which municipalities seek certification through, defines the living wage rate as "the hourly wage two working parents with young children need to earn to cover their basic expenses within their community." Currently, the hourly rate that the Living Wage for Families Campaign established for Metro Vancouver is $20.64, less any non-mandatory employer paid benefit contributions such as extended health or dental care, or MSP premiums.
According to the staff report, the tax increase to meet this requirement will be 0.53%, or $9.77 for the average family dwelling.
During the Council Meeting discussion, various members of Council spoke about the desire to show leadership and felt that having a Living Wage policy would support lower-income workers and households to improve the quality of life for families and children.
The staff report provided to Council indicated that only two City auxiliary positions fall below the recommended Living Wage hourly rate. Based on the projected costs to adhere to the Living Wage guidelines, the cost to the City would be an additional $11,099 for 2017.
The City would also need to establish purchasing policies and contract language that would ensure all relevant service contract employees doing work on City premises on a regular ongoing basis (in excess of 120 hour per year) are paid at the Living Wage rate. Staff estimated the increase in vendor payments would be $83,123.
The City's next stage in working toward Living Wage Employer status is to develop an implementation plan which addresses salaries of direct employees and to work with contractors to meet the Living Wage guidelines. The plan is then reviewed by the Living Wage Employer Recognition Subcommittee, a body made of representatives from businesses, social enterprises, ethical investment groups and trade unions. If the plan meets the Living Wage Campaign's criteria for Living Wage Employers, the City will be certified as a Living Wage Employer.
Pitt Meadows City staff will be developing the implementation plan to bring to Council in the new year.