People working for the Village of Fruitvale can share a certain amount of pride knowing their local government is taking steps to reduce poverty in their community.
That’s because the village of 3,400-plus people is now a living wage employer.
“This just made sense,” said Fruitvale Mayor Steve Morissette. “We made a commitment to providing a good quality of life for our employees and contractors, and to being a leader in bringing awareness of poverty issues in the area and finding solutions.”
Fruitvale joins Greater Trail municipalities of Trail, Rossland, Warfield and Montrose in adopting an official poverty reduction plan and are working together on strategies to see their communities thrive.
A living wage sets a higher standard than the minimum wage; it is what a family needs to earn to provide the basic needs based on the actual costs of living in a community. Living Wage Canada notes that it gets families out of severe financial stress, lifts them out of poverty and provides a basic level of economic security.
“I’m really excited that Fruitvale is leading the charge for municipalities locally,” Morissette said. “Hopefully it will encourage others, and in fact, I’m putting out that challenge right now for other local governments to become ‘Living Wage Employer’ certified.”
To be a certified this status, the Village of Fruitvale must pay employees and contractors at minimum the living wage calculated for this region. The Skills Centre calculates the living wage here and in the Lower Columbia to be $18.83 per hour.
“People who work full time should not be living in poverty, so a living wage is a great place to start the conversation about how we treat our employees and how we value our work,” says Morag Carter, executive director of the Skills Centre.
“I love the idea of a challenge from the Village of Fruitvale to other local governments. This is one of the easy steps to addressing low incomes and poverty.”