Central Saanich is laying claim to being the first Capital Region local government to adopt a living wage policy for its staff and contractors.
The District municipality on Wednesday morning announced the policy, meaning municipal staff and contractors will earn a living wage — or the income required to support basic needs, including housing, transportation, basic recreation and food.
“For us, it’s about ensuring our employees are receiving a wage that reflects the true costs of living in our community,” stated Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor in a media release.
All workers under the purview of the District will not be paid less than $20.01 per hour — the wage calculated by the Community Living Council as the living wage for the region.
That change will not affect District finances. Most Central Saanich municipal employees’ pay and benefits packages “already meet the standard.” The District states the policy is designed to ensure workers continue to meet or exceed the living wage, which is recalculated annually.
“Our province is increasingly unaffordable for many people,” Windsor continued, “and unfortunately B.C. has a high poverty rate. Living wages are one way to combat this trend.”
New Westminster was the first B.C. municipality in Canada to pass a living wage policy in 2011. Others with policies already include Quesnel, Port Coquitlam and the Huu-ay-aht and Yuutu-it-ath First Nations.