New Westminster is the first municipality in Canada to adopt a living wage policy. On April 26th, the New West city council unanimously passed this resolution:
“That the City establish a Living Wage Policy that is tied to an hourly rate established each year by the Living Wage for Families Campaign; and,
That the Living Wage policy will apply to both full time and part time employees; and,
That there be no threshold in terms of dollar value of a contract or number of employees; and,
That the policy apply to persons that perform physical work on City premises and properties; and,
That staff bring back information to Council regarding implications of the Living Wage on contracted services.”
The Living Wage for the purpose of this resolution is $16.74 an hour which has been calculated to be what a family of 4 with two parents working would need to live an ok life. This is great news for people working to reduce poverty as it sets a good precedent for work in other places. ACORN, the Hospital Employees Union, First Call and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives are some of the groups that have been working on this.