June 6, 2022 – United Way Greater Toronto, working with partners including the Peel Poverty Reduction Strategy, has been recognized as an Ontario Living Wage Employer at the Champion level.
The Ontario Living Wage Network, which approved the accreditation, defines living wage “by looking at the real expenses that workers must cover while also enjoying modest participation in their civic and cultural community. It is the hourly wage that employers can pay to be sure that their employees are able to make ends meet.” Toronto’s rate was calculated at $22.08, which is the highest in the province.
UWGT’s CEO Daniele Zanotti explains why this recognition matters. “The work our organization does is enabled by an incredible team. We have long paid our staff a living wage, so it wasn’t a surprise that we were accredited. But it is critical that we model corporate responsibility and push for socially just change. This starts at home – with our own employees.”
Zanotti continues: “As important as it is to be recognized as a Living Wage employer, we must champion this in community, to move the needle on poverty. Just about everyone is feeling the squeeze of this crisis of affordability, but for those who were already hurting, this pandemic hit hard, and those continuing challenges just about snuff out hope. It’s up to us to turn things around – to make a new start.”
He cites the recent study at the University of Calgary, based on six years of data provided by the Daily Bread Food Bank, which found that:
- A $30 increase in rent per month would lead to 73,776 more visit to food banks annually
- A $1 increase in minimum wage would lead to 36,876 fewer visits to food banks in Toronto annually
- A $15 per month increase in ODSP would result in 53,652 fewer visits annually to food banks.
United Way is currently on a compensation journey where a long-term plan has been created and implemented and UW’s compensation philosophy has been shared with employees, including a commitment to being transparent about pay practices.
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About United Way: As the largest non-government funder of community services in the GTA, United Way Greater Toronto reinforces a crucial community safety net to support people living in poverty. United Way’s network of agencies and initiatives in neighbourhoods across Peel, Toronto and York Region works to ensure that everyone has access to the programs and services they need to thrive today. Mobilizing community support, United Way’s work is rooted in ground-breaking research, strategic leadership, local advocacy and cross-sectoral partnerships committed to building a more equitable region and lasting solutions to the GTA’s greatest challenges.
About the Peel Poverty Reduction Strategy: The Peel Poverty Reduction Committee was created in 2008. The Committee uses a collective impact approach with a network of organizations that are mutually committed to exploring the extent to which communities are substantially reducing poverty by using comprehensive, multi-sectoral partnership to effect social changes.
Lindsay Kwan, Manager, Communications, United Way Greater Toronto
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