Neil Mackenzie, Manager, Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention
December 19, 2019
Windsor and Essex County Living Wage Program
Income inequality has been recognized as one of the most significant social determinants contributing to poorer population health outcomes. As such, many communities across Ontario, nationally, and internationally have implemented living wage programs aimed to raise awareness, encourage adoption, and advance healthy public policy. In 2017, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) agreed to take over the administration of the Windsor and Essex County Living Wage program from Pathway to Potential; Windsor and Essex County’s Social Investment Plan. The program re-launched in March 2018, and as of November 2019, there are 27 Certified Living Wage Employers.
The 2020 Living Wage calculated for Windsor and Essex County is $15.52/hour for full and part time employees that do not receive health benefits from their employer. This represents a .37 cent per hour (2.4%) increase over the 2019 Living Wage. The 2020 Living Wage for full and part time employees who receive health benefits from their employer remains at $14.00/hour (current provincial minimum wage).
Purpose: To raise awareness about the minimum salary required to increase the likelihood of having a basic standard of living in Windsor and Essex County, and to advance policies, partnerships, and practices that promote health and well-being for our community.
Key Program Deliverables
Each year the living wage calculation is updated and shared with the community. See the attached Calculating a Living Wage for Windsor and Essex County 2020 report (Appendix A). The report is intended to provide an overview of the Living Wage, how it’s calculated, and assumptions that are made in the calculations. It is anticipated that the report will help raise awareness about the importance of paying at least a Living wage to all employees, in order to increase the likelihood that they can meet the basic cost of living in Windsor and Essex County.
The Living Wage Certification Program includes:
- Promotion and recruitment activities;
- An online intake and enrollment process;
- Verification that applicants meet program eligibility criteria;
- Support for employer implementation;
- An employer Living Wage Certification package;
- Program evaluation and reporting activities to support quality improvement; and,
- Recognition at the annual Gord Smith Healthy Workplace and Bike Friendly Awards.
KEY CALCULATION CHANGES FOR 2020
In order to better support local communities in the Living Wage Calculation process, the Ontario Living Wage Network (OLWN) reviewed and updated the living wage calculation methodology in 2018. This change allows local communities to spend less time calculating the living wage and helps standardize calculations throughout the province.
Members of the CAC serve in a consultative capacity, providing recommendations and advice to the WECHU Living Wage program administration team. The most recent CAC meeting was held on October 24, 2019. At that meeting, the WECHU team delivered a presentation outlining the 2020 Living Wage calculation and relevant changes. They also shared the 2019 Living Wage evaluation report. The plan for promoting and recruiting Living Wage employers for 2020 was discussed. Group feedback and discussion resulted in valuable input and advice that will be incorporated into the 2020 Living Wage Program.
Note: not all members of the CAC attended the meetings referred to above.
Community Advisory Committee Membership
- Judy Lund (Working Toward Wellness Committee)
- Michelle Suchiu (Executive Director, Workforce WindsorEssex)
- Stephen Lynn (Coordinator of Social Planning, City of Windsor)
- Jelena Payne (The Community Development and Health Commissioner, City of Windsor)
- Luciano Carlone (Director of Finance and Corporate Services, Canadian Mental Health Association - Windsor-Essex County Branch)
- Lorraine Goddard (CEO, United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County)
- Robert Ross (Windsor-Essex Food Policy Council)
- Greg Schlosser (Director, Human Resources, County of Essex)
The following individuals contributed to this report: Nicole Dupuis, Marc Frey, Neil MacKenzie, Ramsey D’Souza, Saamir Pasha, and Cathy Bennett.
- Appendix A – Calculating a Living Wage for Windsor and Essex County 2020 - Report coming soon
Theresa Marentette, CEO