Toki Doki, Tofino’s newest take-out outlet, has upped the ante for West Coast businesses by becoming a Certified Living Wage Employer.
While the minimum wage in British Columbia is $15.20 per hour, the 2021 living wage for families in the Clayoquot Biosphere region is $21.15 per hour, a $1.52 increase over 2019.
The living wage is calculated as the hourly amount that each of the two parents who work with two young children must earn to meet their basic expenses, including: food, rent, transport and childcare. Although the calculation takes into account government subsidies, it is considered the “minimum” wage a family needs for an adequate quality of life, according to the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust.
Unsurprisingly, Tofino and Ucluelet have the highest living wage in the province, largely due to the high cost of rent and groceries. Greater Victoria’s living wage is $20.46/hour and Nanaimo’s is $16.33/hour, by comparison.
Toki Doki co-owners Madi Greyson and Kei Lowes say providing a living wage for their staff was the least they could do.
“We may not have the means to build a house to house our staff, but at least it gives them a chance to find healthy housing by providing them with a stable income,” said Greyson, adding that they also offer comprehensive benefits.
The only other organization in the Clayoquot Sound area that is Living Wage certified is the non-profit Coastal Restoration Society.
“We were really shocked to learn that we were the first catering provider in the region to be certified,” said Greyson.
She encouraged other companies to get involved.
“If you’re able to, if you’re able to have less profit at the end of the year, but still be able to provide a healthy life for your staff members, I don’t think that should be something that should even be a consideration. Otherwise, we see what happens to all the people who live in the city. They burn out and then they leave,” she said.
In 2021, Living Wage for Families BC certified more than 100 new living wage employers across British Columbia, double the amount of any previous year, says Anastasia French, organizer of Living Wage for Families BC.
“Which shows how employers have found paying a living wage a solution to some of the pandemic-related hiring challenges they’ve been facing,” French said.
For more information on how to become a Certified Living Wage for BC, email [email protected] or visit https://www.livingwageforfamilies.ca/.
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