Title:Living wage: an introduction.
Author(s):Cabal Garces, Maria L.
Subject:Employment – wage issues
Publisher:Guelph & Wellington Task Force for Poverty Elimination
Place of Publication:Guelph ON
Date of Publication:2011
Many Canadian families are finding it difficult to make ends meet even when they work long hours. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA)1 reported that Canadian families in the bottom half of the population, those who have the lowest incomes from a 50% cut-off, are working more compared to families in the 1970’s, yet they have experienced a 24% drop in total earnings. Long work hours means that less time is available for family activities leading to difficulties balancing work and family responsibilities.
For many Canadians then, having a job does not guarantee a route out of poverty, and in many cases makes them working poor. According to the CCPA3, the working poor are individuals who work year-round and full time but receive wages that are insufficient to lift oneself out poverty. The concept of a living wage, or a rate of pay high enough that allows families to afford a decent and dignified life, has been introduced as a way to improve the livelihoods of the working poor. Many lessons need to be learned from those who have used living wage policies as a tool to fight poverty. This report explores some of the issues related to their implementation.