Quesnel adopts living wage

Quesnel has become just the second municipality in Canada to adopt a living wage policy.

The policy guarantees municipal employees and contractors will earn at least $16.52 per hour.

That is the figure a family of four, with two adults working full time, needs to earn in the North Central Interior to meet expenses.

Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson, who initially brought forward the policy, said the city was especially concerned about seeing people as key investors in the local economy.

"If people can barely afford to live where they work then they cannot participate fully in the local economy or be engaged in their community, either as participants or as volunteers," said Simpson.

B.C. is the only province in Canada to embrace the Living Wage for Families Campaign.

New Westminster became the first municipality to enact a living wage bylaw. Vancouver, Parksville and Port Coquitlam are also moving toward implementation.

The Huu-ay-aht First Nations was the first First Nations government to certify as a Living Wage Employer.

“The majority of our certified employers have less than 50 employees,” said Deanna Ogle, the campaign organizer with the Living Wage for Families Campaign.

“This demonstrates the strong commitment and contribution of small businesses to the economic health of local communities. It is great to see a municipality match this commitment through certifying as a Living Wage Employer.”

Kelowna city council heard a presentation on the living wage in 2011, however, it has not come up inside council chambers since.     

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