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United Way Simcoe Muskoka certified as a Living Wage Employer

'We know that income solutions are the key to driving poverty reduction, prosperity and engagement in our communities,' says official
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As of Nov. 1, 2019, United Way Simcoe Muskoka (UWSM) has been certified by the Ontario Living Wage Network as part of the first cohort of Living Wage Employers in Simcoe County.

UWSM has been granted the designation of champion supporter, which means that 100 per cent of all staff, including contract employees and any future hires, are compensated at no less than the living wage.

Living wage in Simcoe County is $18.01/hour and is calculated using factors that ensure a basic standard of living. The result is much different than minimum wage, which is set by the provincial government.

Living wage takes into account necessities for social, mental and physical health. This includes rent, utilities, transportation and healthy food, among other basic needs.

“I am delighted that we can join others in our region this year by becoming a Living Wage Employer,” said Rosslyn Junke, UWSM Director of Community Impact and Chair of the Simcoe County Poverty Reduction Task Group. “At UWSM, we know that income solutions are the key to driving poverty reduction, prosperity and engagement in our communities.”

The living wage for Simcoe County was calculated in 2018 to give an updated view of the cost of living in our communities. This helps take into account inflation and region-specific costs, which minimum wage does not. By providing employees with a living wage, UWSM ensures they can lead secure, healthy lives with less of a financial strain.

“It is a step in the right direction,” said UWSM CEO Dale Biddell. “More than 60,000 people in Simcoe Muskoka are living in low-income households. This leads to individuals working multiple minimum wage jobs and still not being able to make ends meet. We hope that other companies and organizations join us and the other Living Wage Employers in this very important movement to help lift our residents out of poverty and unlock their full potential.”

United Way Simcoe Muskoka is joined by Busch Systems International Inc., Community Builders, the Down Syndrome Association of Simcoe County, Hillson Medicine Professional Corporation, the Gilbert Centre, the John Howard Society of Simcoe & Muskoka and the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition in being the first group of certified Living Wage Employers in Simcoe County.

To learn more about the benefits of being a Living Wage Employer, please visit