Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley

Burnaby: The City of Burnaby has adopted a Living Wage Program, to benefit the health and well-being of everyone who performs work on the city’s behalf.

“This is about investing in people, and investing in our community,” said Mayor Mike Hurley. “Paying a decent wage delivers so many benefits. It helps families make ends meet, it helps them thrive, and it also builds stronger connections between employee and employer.”

The living wage, calculated annually by the Living Wage for Families Campaign, is the hourly amount a family needs to cover basic expenses. The calculation is based on a two-parent family with two children with each parent working full-time. The 2019 living wage for Metro Vancouver is $19.50 per hour (comprised of wages and non-mandatory benefits). About 30 per cent of Metro Vancouver two-parent families with two children have incomes below the 2019 living wage according to Statistics Canada.

“A living wage helps bring people out of poverty by guaranteeing that wages cover the basics of life,” said CUPE 23 President Bruce Campbell, who represents the city’s unionized employees. “Credit goes to the City of Burnaby for taking this step and ensuring the benefits of our local economy are fairly shared with workers.”

To receive Living Wage Employer certification, all wages for direct staff, contract staff and contractors must meet the standard. Examples of external contracts include security, traffic flagging and routine maintenance.

Steps to Living Wage certification

  • October 1, 2019 – extend living wage to all city staff
  • January 1, 2020 – begin requiring living wage for all external service providers as new contracts assigned or renewed. Applies to contractors and sub-contractors

Once certification is complete, the City of Burnaby will be among the first cities in Metro Vancouver to become a Living Wage Employer, joining the cities of New Westminster, Vancouver and Port Coquitlam.

The annual cost of transition to a living wage is estimated at $78,000 in staffing costs, based on the 2019 numbers. The cost of including all external service providers is estimated to be an additional $200,000 and $300,000 annually. The total comprises less than one-tenth of a per cent of the city’s annual operating budget.