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Number of living-wage employers in Simcoe County on the rise

United Way says it wants to recognize and celebrate local employers who see the value in adopting a living wage to support their staff
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This week marks Living Wage Week. Across Canada, advocacy groups are celebrating local employers who have committed to paying their employees a living wage and are raising awareness about the importance of a living wage in building healthy, resilient communities.  

Last year, the Simcoe County Poverty Reduction Task Group (PRTG) recognized the first group of certified Living Wage employers in Simcoe County. Since then that number has grown to 14 and is climbing as word spreads – and the group continues to seek more employers interested in becoming certified.  

Using methodology from Living Wage Canada and the Ontario Living Wage Network, living wage rates are calculated using local basic needs costs from the region. It is defined as the hourly wage a worker needs to earn in order to cover their basic expenses and to participate in the community.

For Simcoe County, the living wage was updated in 2018 to $18.01. While the minimum wage is legislated by the provincial government, a living wage is a higher, voluntary standard to which employers can commit. 

“We are pleased to recognize and celebrate local employers who see the value in adopting a living wage to support their staff and build a strong team, especially during COVID-19,” says Rosslyn Junke, Chair of the PRTG and Director of Community Impact at United Way Simcoe Muskoka. “Providing individuals with enough money to meet their basic needs also allows them to contribute our local economy.”  

Better Way Alliance is a network of business owners. According to them, it is not only the employee who benefits from a living wage – there are benefits to the employer as well, such as reduced absenteeism, decreased turnover rates, lower recruitment and training costs, increased morale and loyalty, improved productivity and service delivery, and greater corporate recognition and public relations.  

This year, being a certified Living Wage employer carries additional significance – it helps employers attract better employees as the economy reboots during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If you are paying your contract or salaried employees a Living Wage, why not get recognized for it? It is a competitive advantage. It signals not just that you pay well but that you care about your employees outside of work,” notes Jennifer van Gennip, Executive Director of the Down Syndrome Association of Simcoe County, one of the first Living Wage employers to be certified in Simcoe County in 2019.  

For more information or to join the list of certified living wage employers in Simcoe County, visit 


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