November 6-12th marks Living Wage Week! To celebrate, we wanted to share what the living wage means and why it’s an important part of creating a more sustainable city.
What is a Living Wage?
The Ontario Living Wage Network works to establish wage rates that are aligned with the true cost of living in the region.
A living wage is calculated by including expenses for food, clothing, shelter, childcare, transportation, medical expenses, recreation, and a modest vacation. It does not factor in expenses such as retirement savings, debt repayment, home ownership, savings for children’s education, or anything other than the smallest cushion for hard times. Unsurprisingly, the living wage is higher than the current Ontario minimum wage ($16.55) in all regions of the province.
You can use ONN’s interactive map to find your local rate here. The rates are annually updated each year in November. The 2023 living wage rate in London-Elgin-Oxford is $18.85 (up from $18.05 in 2022).
Living Wage at LEN
Did you know that the London Environmental Network (LEN) has been living wage certified since 2020? It’s true! Our entry-level wage is always aligned with the current living wage rates for the London-Elgin-Oxford region, and we strive to scale up wages whenever possible. This is one of the ways we contribute to the Decent Work in the nonprofit sector movement - which is all about creating equitable, safe, and productive workplaces that value people, culture, and community. At LEN, we have made great progress in this area within the past few years such as maintaining Living Wage Certification, offering a flexible work schedule, providing paid professional development opportunities, and health benefits for our employees. We’re not perfect (more work needs to be done!), but making strides in this area each year makes a positive impact for our employees and the communities they participate in. During Living Wage week, we wanted to take a step back to reflect on how far we’ve come.
Providing a living wage is an important part of creating a more sustainable city. How?
- It supports people’s basic needs. When basic needs are met, they are more likely to participate in their communities and economy (think: attending public events, shopping at local businesses, volunteering for environmental groups, getting involved in local arts and culture).
- It supports fair, safe, and equitable working conditions, which can lead to reduced stress and increased happiness and productivity in the workplace.
- From an employer’s perspective, it can help attract and retain talent on our team and contribute to London’s workforce!
- It emphasizes that careers in the nonprofit sector are not only viable, but valuable to the community. We can tell you with confidence that our network gets things done in London!
- As a women-led organization in a women-majority sector, investing in decent work is directly linked to women’s economic empowerment and justice. Read more about this concept on the Decent Work for Women’s Website.
As you can see, providing a living wage at LEN creates benefits beyond the direct space we work in. It contributes to a sustainable and thriving city. The environment is not separate from our community, it is our community.
Celebrating Living Wage Week
We are definitely not the only Living Wage Certified organization in London! Celebrate Living Wage Week by learning more about other Living Wage Certified organizations in our area:
- Carmina De Young (Green Economy London Leader)
- Convertus (Green Economy London Leader)
- Growing Chefs! Ontario (LEN member)
- Libro Credit Union (Green Economy London Leader)
- NRGWise Consulting (Partner through the our Home Energy Assessment Service)
- Pillar Nonprofit Network (Green Economy London Leader)
- ReForest London (LEN member & Green Economy London Leader)
- Urban Roots London (LEN member)
We are proud to be working with these organizations in some capacity and contribute to an equitable workforce in London. Let us know how you support a sustainable city in the comments below!
If you are looking to become a living wage employer and want to learn more from our experience - connect with us!