People working for the Village of Fruitvale can share a certain amount of pride knowing that their local government is taking steps to reduce poverty in their community. The Village of Fruitvale is now a Living Wage Employer.
“This just made sense. We made a commitment to providing a good quality of life for our employees and contractors, and to being a leader in bringing awareness of poverty issues in the area and finding solutions,” says Mayor Steve Morissette.
“I’m really excited that Fruitvale is leading the charge for municipalities locally. Hopefully it will encourage others, and in fact, I’m putting out that challenge right now for other local governments to become Living Wage Employer certified,” he says.
A living wage sets a higher standard than the minimum wage: it is what a family needs to earn to provide the basic needs based on the actual costs of living in a community. Living Wage Canada notes that it gets families out of severe financial stress, lifts them out of poverty and provides a basic level of economic security.
To be a certified Living Wage Employer, the Village of Fruitvale must pay employees and contractors at minimum the living wage calculated for this region. The Skills Centre calculates the living wage here, and in the Lower Columbia it is $18.83 per hour.
“People who work full time should not be living in poverty, so a living wage is a great place to start the conversation about how we treat our employees and how we value our work. I love the idea of a challenge from the Village of Fruitvale to other local governments. This is one of the easy steps to addressing low incomes and poverty,” says Morag Carter, executive director of the Skills Centre.
Fruitvale is one of five local governments that have adopted an official poverty reduction plan and are working together on strategies to see their communities thrive. The others are the cities of Trail and Rossland and the villages of Montrose and Warfield.
The Greater Trail Skills Centre is committed to strengthening the communities of the Lower Columbia River region. It provides workplace skills, development training services and social development programming to community members, including employment programs for vulnerable and equity seeking groups, poverty reduction programming and workplace learning and wellness programs. It serves youth, mature workers and everyone in between to build a caring community of skilled, productive and engaged people.