Tofino’s newest eatery Toki Doki has upped the ante for West Coast businesses by becoming a Certified Living Wage Employer.
While the minimum wage in BC is $15.20 per hour, the living wage for families in the Clayoquot biosphere region is $21.15 per hour in 2021, an increase of $1.52 from 2019.
The Living Wage is calculated as the hourly amount each of two working parents with two young children must earn to cover their basic expenses, including: food, rent, transportation and childcare. While the calculation takes government subsidies into account, it is considered the “level” of wages a family needs to have a decent quality of life, according to the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust.
Not surprisingly, Tofino and Ucluelet have the highest living wages in the province, largely due to the high cost of rent and groceries. In comparison, Greater Victoria’s living wage is $20.46/hour and Nanaimo’s is $16.33/hour.
Toki Doki co-owners Madi Greyson and Kei Lowes say providing their employees with a living wage was the least they could do.
“We may not be able to afford to build a house to house our employees, but at least it gives them a chance to find healthy housing by providing a stable income,” Greyson said, adding that they too offer full services.
The only other organization in the Clayoquot Sound area that is certified for living wages is the non-profit Coastal Restoration Society.
“We were really shocked to find out that we were the first restaurant operator in the region to be certified,” Greyson said.
She encouraged other companies to get involved.
“If you’re able to do that, if you’re able to make less profit at the end of the year, but you’re able to give your employees healthy lives, I don’t think that should even be something that it should should be considerate. Otherwise we see what happens to all the people who live in the city. They burn out and then they go,” she said.
In 2021, Living Wage for Families BC certified over 100 new living wage employers across BC, double the number from the previous year, says Anastasia French, organizer of Living Wage for Families BC.
“Which suggests that employers have found paying a living wage as a solution to some of the pandemic-related hiring challenges,” French said.
For more information on becoming a BC Certified Living Wage, email [email protected] or visit https://www.livingwageforfamilies.ca/.
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