Background - Poverty and the Living Wage

Poverty – presentation to MVA Municipal Accountability Assembly

MVA is committed to becoming a Living Wage City. The causes of poverty are many! The results of inadequate income are obvious and costly to our society/our whole lower mainland. We see it in terms of health, education, crime and, family breakdown.

In Vancouver nearly 20 per cent of children live in poverty.  Even if a child grows up in a family where both parents are working, there is no guarantee that the family will not be poor-- minimum wage cannot lift a family out of poverty: In our Province of BC,  43% of poor children live in a family with at least one parent with a full time job. Research shows that two full time salaries, set at a Living Wage of $20.10 per hour is necessary for a family of two adults and two children to have a basic, adequate income to live in the lower mainland.

The benefits of paying a Living Wage are clear: companies that have chosen to do pay the Living Wage retain their employees and have far less turnover of employees than companies who don’t. Employees who are fairly compensated are more connected with the value of their work and have higher morale. People who are paid a Living Wage spend those dollars in their communities, contributing to the economic base.  People who are paid enough to live on don’t have to take two jobs just to pay basic costs—they are not exhausted, there is time after work to be with their children, and participate in family and community activities.

MVA wants to congratulate New Westminster City Council which has already become a Living Wage Employer.  We are here tonight to say Introducing a Vancouver Living Wage policy makes moral, economic and political sense.  For added incentive, the results of a poll conducted by the Columbia Institute showed that 67.1 per cent of respondents agreed that their city should adopt a Living Wage policy. You have the citizens of our community on your side to do this!

Metro Vancouver Alliance Commits to:

  • Campaign that every working person in Vancouver be paid at least the Vancouver Living Wage of $20.10 an hour.
  • Work toward all of our member communities becoming Living Wage Employers
  • Support the Mayor of Vancouver, Council and City staff on introducing a Vancouver Living Wage policy

We are asking candidates to:

  • Commit to developing a plan to make the City of Vancouver a Living Wage employer for all employees who work for the city of Vancouver and for all employees of companies who are contracted or sub-contracted to work for the City of Vancouver
  • Promote the Living Wage to other municipalities and employers

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