The City of St. Catharines is now the largest municipality in Ontario to pay a living wage

The City of St. Catharines is now officially the largest living wage municipality in Ontario.

As part of the certification, the city pledged to pay all employees a living wage and meet champion level requirements by December 2024.

“We hope this will only continue the growth of paid-for-life work in the region and that we will continue to see more and more employers getting involved in the years to come,” said Lori Kleinsmith of Niagara Poverty. Reduction Network at a board meeting on Monday.

The Niagara Poverty Reduction Network has certified nearly 80 employers who provide living wages to employees, Kleinsmith said.

“This is our largest employer in terms of the number of people who work for the City of St. Catharines,” Kleinsmith said.

A living wage is the hourly rate a worker must earn, not only to cover basic expenses, but also to have a little extra to participate in the community.

According to data from the Ontario Living Wage Network released in November 2021, a living wage for the Niagara region is estimated at $18.90 per hour.

City is one of 23 living wage calculations the network updated and published in November.

Hamilton is estimated at $17.20 and Toronto, at the highest, is $22.08 an hour.

“It’s really important because there are a lot of people working full time at minimum wage or low wage who are still living in poverty,” Anne Coleman, program manager for the Ontario, told the council Monday. LivingWage Network.

“It really shows a lot of care for the community and respect for the people who work within your community.”

Coleman said it also sets a great example for other employers in the city, the Niagara region, other municipalities in Ontario and across the country.

In February 2021, St. Catharines Council voted unanimously to apply to become a Living Wage Employer through the Ontario Living Wage Network.