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October 27, 2017 9:17 pm

Quesnel Adopts Living Wage Policy

Thursday, September 8, 2016 @ 6:00 AM

Quesnel, B.C.- The City of Quesnel  is now the second municipality in the country to  implement a  living wage policy, but there is no plan for P.G. to follow suit.

As part of the City of Quesnel’s Strategic Plan, the Living Wage Policy  was approved by Quesnel  City Council this week.

A living wage is the hourly wage a family of four is deemed to need to cover basic expenses which include: food,  clothing; rental housing; child care; transportation; and small savings to cover illness or emergencies.

The current Living Wage in Quesnel is $16.52 an hour including benefits.

Quesnel Mayor  Bob Simpson says the  policy  is part of his Council’s  commitment to ensure the community thrives during a transition period  “As we shift from an industrial economy to a more service oriented one, the City can help lead the way by establishing benchmarks which challenge all employers to pay wages that reflect the true costs of living in our community and which also give people the ability to engage more fully in our local economy and social dynamic.”
Employees hired directly by the City of Quesnel will earn at minimum a living wage, with some exemptions for students and social programs. Service contractors hired by the City of Quesnel to perform regular, ongoing work of at least 120 hours per year will only be hired if they agree to pay their employees a living wage.  A living wage clause will be included in all future agreements.

Prince George doesn’t have any  plans to follow suit  says P.G. Mayor Lyn Hall, “We haven’t addressed  it (the Living Wage) as a Council.  I know there are a couple of companies  in town that have a Living wage  embedded within their organization, so it would have to be something Council would address.  We  haven’t talked about it, and it’s not on the planning Board as something to bring forward to Council.”

Mayor Hall says  City of P.G. employees are  already  paid  in excess of the $16.52 per hour.  Is  it something  Council might  consider  in the future?  “I don’t know if it would or not” says Mayor Hall “As these things come up, Quesnel has done it,  and it becomes a topic of conversation, so if Council decides if they want to   go I that direction,  these things come up in various communities and people  always want to know if it’s  something we may or may not do, but  as I say, there has been no conversation  on this issue.”

While  City of P.G. employees are already  above the  Living Wage,  the  only application would be if the City decided to make it a  condition of agreements with any of  the contractors  the City may  hire. But again,  Mayor  Hall says it  has not been a topic of discussion with this Council.

New Westminster was the first municipality in Canada to become a Living Wage Employer and the Huu-ay-aht First Nations was the first First Nations government to certify as a Living Wage Employer. Parksville, Port Coquitlam and the City of Vancouver have recently passed living wage policies and are moving towards implementation.


For those that want more detailed information on what a living wage is about, as well as a link to a living wage map that shows the different levels of living wages for different cities in BC, copy and paste the following link.


Hover over the “Living Wage” near the top of the page and click on the “What is Living Wage?” link.

Good on Quesnel for joining the city of New Westminster in adopting a living wage standard, this will help reduce the unacceptably high child poverty rate in BC. May as well have our local governments take charge, as the Provincial Government refuses to take a lead on behalf of these poor children.

Good to see Mayor Hall has enough sense not to drink the pink cool-aid.

Yesss the City should set examples instead of being the highest paid employer in town. Imagine making 25-28 dollars an hour for a summer job when everyone else is at minimum wage.. Union may not like it, but they should include that in the next contract

    There isn’t a single job posted under $26 per hour on the PG careers website including cleaners and custodians that start at $27 plus benefits.

    I don’t think it is the people the city hires that the concern is about but rather to work for the city as a company or supplier you would have to subscribe to a living wage as well.

A family of 4 making $16.52 an hour would also be receiving about $9000 a year in child benefits. That’s another $4.50 an hour.

That’s about $40,000 a year.

    And keep in mind that $9,000 would be tax free. You’d have to earn almost $14,000 before income tax and CPP and EI to get $9,000.00 in your pocket. So it’s closer to $48,000 per year.

The “living wage” idea can only come from someone who has no idea of economic realities, someone totally divorced from life in the real world. In other words, someone working for government.

    Unfortunately there is a lot of truth in your comment! Some people who work for the government deserve the wages and benefits they are getting, but there are far too many on all three levels of government who receive enormous salaries and benefits amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars every year! That, in my opinion, is totally undeserving and based not on reality but on an established pecking order. From the janitor up to the various Chiefs (CEO, CFO, CPO…) there is a step up in remuneration until it ends up at the bizarre top.

So, who pays? City contractors don’t care. If all of them have to pay the same wage, there’s no competitive advantage, in fact, for the contractor, who usually adds a mark-up to wages they pay, this could increase their profits. All of their bids will now be higher.

That means Quesnel will now pay more for contracted services than they otherwise would have.

That means the Quesnel taxpayer will be on the hook for this social experiment.

That means the Quesnel senior living on $20,000.00 a year will pay extra taxes to cover off the wages of someone making more than them. And, since property taxes are based on house value – not occupant income, it could be quite a significant hit, as many seniors own homes bought when they were working. Their generation is loath to defer property taxes, cause it’s really just borrowing money, so, whatever their tax bill goes up for this social experiment, will impact them quite significantly. If Donald Trump loses $20.00, he doesn’t give a crap, someone making $20,000.00 a year, it’s 4 trips to A&W for breakfast they can no longer afford.

Assuming 1child under 6 and 1 child over 6 = $11,260.00/yr
Assuming full employment and Stat holidays= $34,493.00/yr
Assuming tax deductions,CPP,EI, =$5,400.00

After tax approximately. =$40,353.00

Mayor Lyn Hall maybe it is time for you to address a living wage. No need to wait for this Liberal government to do anything about it.

If you are suggesting minimum wage go form 10.85 to 16.52, I think you will get a lot of push back! One should strive to make more than minimum wage, but this would probably satisfy some people enough to keep them at the low end of the pay scale for life!

Cougs79– So how do strive to make more than min wage in a place say like Walmart or Home Depot? Everyone working there can not become a manager that makes a little more. The wage rates are set and in my opinion you would have to join a union and go on strike in order to negotiate a living wage. I am in favor in what Quesnel is doing.

    Maybe instead of giving handouts to people working menial jobs, we should focus more on helping them better their skill sets so they can get better paying jobs.

      The better paying jobs are drying up at an alarming rate though. Just look at the mine closures in our area over the last few years. Couple that with the mill closures and you’re not left with much. I’m all for people trying to improve their lot in life but they need good jobs to go to as well.

      I think the better paying jobs are just moving to different sectors.

      There are still a lot of well paying forestry jobs out there, the problem is finding people willing to fill them. No one wants to leave the city anymore.

    The theory is, if you are unskilled labour, and there are more of you than there are jobs, then, you get paid the least amount because of supply and demand. If you want more, upgrade your skills.

    The current reality is, there is actually more unskilled jobs, than labour, so the government upset the supply demand curve by allowing TFW’s rather than letting wages rise by market forces, which would encourage people currently not in the labour force, to enter it.

    However, even in perfect balance, sometimes a union is necessary because the employer is totally united, the worker’s are not, and can be played off against each other, and threatened and intimidated if they seek more pay.

All you scrubs complaining about other workers making too much money should do the right thing. Go to your employers and tell them you think you make too much and want to help lighten their financial load by volunteering to take a pay cut. Any takers on that? No? I didn’t think so.

    Did that at the end of the 90s, took a pay cut to stay working. Gotta love the NDP

      Sure you did, Slinky. Sure you did. lol

      Yes, and it’s always the NDP’s fault, even though neither the SoCreds or the NDP have any real control over the economy, since it is almost all entirely privately owned and controlled. It is always the government’s fault; never the fault of the actual controllers sitting in the boardrooms and C-suites of Corporate Canada and International Finance.

      You people really need to get some new material already. The “Blame NDP” cliche you people keep spouting is just tired and boring already.

    That’s an interesting suggestion, Hahaha. Suppose the big Unions took it up. Went to all their employers and said they’d roll back their wages, say 20% across the board, if all those employers would cut all their prices by the same amount. CURRENT wages in our modern industrialised world are only a PART of ALL the ‘costs’ that flow through and enter ‘prices’. So look what would happen. You take a 20% cut in wages, which is only a PART of ALL the ‘COSTS’ flowing into the ‘prices’ your employers are going to be reducing that same 20%. You’ve just increased your purchasing power by the net amount of the difference.

Ski51–Have to agree with you. The TFW program was a gift from Steven. It was a total farce also from this government saying we can not find enough workers. What they were really saying was we cannot find enough workers to work for min. wage. If we do not raise wages the taxpayer will have to pay for an increase in welfare or supply food banks.

    You may be right . I may be wrong but I thought that Stevie was saying , “we’re to stupid to have a long form census so that we would know well before we had a shortage of skilled workers that we will need ” . That was the result . I say , what a lousy manager those clowns were . Every thing they touched has to be fixed . His new venture is going to be a continuation of his gong show . Of that I am certain . Consultancy is quasi eduction . Can you imagine Stevie and education in the same sentence ?

Integris Credit Union is a living wage employer here in PG. Not a branch of government, not unionized, but realize that good people are worth paying for.

    For this reason, among others, I think more of us should be moving away from “Big Banks” and taking our banking business to the local Credit Unions.

      I think you’ll find that what the Credit Unions pay their employees are pretty much in line with what the big Banks pay theirs. BOTH the big Banks and the Credit Unions have a problem. One that’s common to other businesses, too, not just those providing financial services. Their profits, taken as a percentage of their ‘sales’, continue to decline. This in spite of all the automation and technology that has displaced much of the labor associated with banking. As it has done in virtually every other industry. And, in the case of the Banks and the Credit Unions alike, the amount of spread there currently is between what’s paid depositors in interest vs. what’s charged borrowers. At one time, most of the services now charged for by Banks and Credit Unions were provided free. Not any more. Each time you move a dollar within them, you’re dinged for it.

      Among other reasons not to use a “Big Bank”. “Dozens of employees at Canada’s largest bank (RBC) are losing their jobs to temporary foreign workers, who are in Canada to take over the work of their department.”


      Don’t see Credit Unions doing this!

      Credit Unions have taken considerable business away from the big Banks in recent years. But Credit Unions themselves are not Federally regulated entities, and have to have an arrangement with one or more of the chartered Banks in order to carry on their business. As does ATB Financial, in Alberta, (formerly Alberta Treasury Branches), the provincial government owned Crown corporation that carries on considerable financial services provision in that province.

How long would the “living wage” of $16.52 an hour plus benefits be a living wage once everyone below that level is raised up to it? It’s calculated on what it takes to meet ‘costs’ with wages, including wages from minimum up to $ 16.52 plus benefits, at the levels they’re at NOW. But as soon as those wages and benefits are raised, $ 16.52 plus benefits isn’t going to be a “living wage” anymore. Nor will any other amount you want to raise it beyond $ 16.52, as long as those wages HAVE TO BE ‘costed’ into and recovered from ‘prices’, (and ‘taxes’, which are really just involuntary prices). The ONLY way you can achieve what you seem to think raising below “living wages” are going to do for anyone receiving them is if they’re NOT ‘costed’ into ‘prices’. No private employer, nor even any government one, currently, can do THAT.

    Seriously, man. You just take the cake. You are actually defending the position that people living in poverty is necessary to the health of the economy. Only a guy who has never had it hard in his entire life would constantly post how raising people out of economic poverty is bad for the country and the economy.

      I’m not taking that position at all, Hahaha. I’d like to see EVERYONE receive a “living wage”. And one that would truly eliminate poverty completely. I think it would not only be wonderful for every individual to have the economic security so many currently lack, or find increasingly inadequate, but it would also be the best thing that could ever happen to business. All business. But we can’t achieve that desirable condition proceeding endlessly along the same lines we’ve tried before, when that hasn’t worked. And in many instances worsened the overall situation for both ‘producers’, which are always ever going to be SOME of us, and ‘consumers’, which of necessity are always going to be ALL of us. So I’m all for the “living wage”, but a REAL one, that increases EVERYONE’S actual purchasing power, not a phoney one that just works with bigger figures and still falls short.

Ataloss. You may very well be to stupid to understand Harpers achievements. You need to maybe find a friend and have them help you walk through the last 18 years that Harper was in Government. Perhaps by doing that you could get a better insight into exactly how good a politician, and Prime Minister he actually was.

Insofar as the long form census goes, what make you an authority on this subject??? I for one prefer the short form, or no form. A lot of people could care less on way or the other.

So take a break from your rabble, babble, relax and enjoy your new leader.

    Well put, Palopu. Why do I get the feeling most aren’t going to “enjoy” their “new leader” very much when the tax increases start happening and still don’t solve the problems they’re supposed to?

      I get the feeling that most aren’t going to “enjoy” their “new leader” sooner than we think!

      “Trudeau’s stimulus plan in doubt”

      ht tp://www.torontosun.com/2016/09/08/trudeaus-stimulus-plan-in-doubt

      Obviously, it looks like the bloom is beginning to falling from the rose, but at least Justin still made Vanity Fair’s best dressed list! Heck, that’s what’s important, right?

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