Vancity - a living wage employer
With more than 2,500 employees working at 57 branches throughout the Vancouver and Victoria regions, Vancity is Canada's largest living wage employer.
“If both parents in a family are working full-time, their children should not be living in poverty. Just as we consider our environmental footprint, it’s our hope that more B.C. employers will consider their social and economic impact and pay their employees a living wage,” said Ellen Pekeles, Vancity's senior vice president of operations, in a press release announcing their recertification as a living wage employer for 2013. Pekeles also issued a challenge to other BC employers to consider paying a living wage.
Not only does the financial co-operative pay its own employees a living wage, Vancity has now implemented the living wage through its contracts with the majority of its major suppliers. This means the employees of these suppliers doing work on behalf of Vancity – for example, security, janitorial and caterers -- now also receive a living wage.
Implementing the living wage in dozens of contracts across a broad range of suppliers is complex. As specific contracts and agreements are renewed or negotiated, they will meet the living wage calculated at that time.
For this large organization, implementing the living wage has been no small undertaking, said Pekeles. “The knowledge and experience Vancity employees have collected along the way is immense. So our next commitment is to document and share with other businesses the challenges and solutions we’ve encountered.”
Vancity is now working with community partners including The Living Wage Employer Program at the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria, and the Living Wage Fraser Valley at Vibrant Abbotsford to increase the number of certified living wage employers in B.C.
In Metro Vancouver the calculated living wage amount is now $19.62 per hour, and Vancity will pay this rate across its service area, regardless of the local rate. In BC, the living wage rates are calculated by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives on behalf of the Living Wage for Families Campaign.
Vancity in the news: