Monday, January 24, 2011

Living wages

Esquimalt Council recently endorsed a living wage policy that will advance the municipality forward to esnure that city workers and contractors are paid enough to live in Victoria.  It's been spearhead by Councillor Randall Garrison.  It's slow going but it's a good idea. 

We need to find ways to provide more income equity in Canada and market forces are unsufficient to achieve that objective.  That said, a very strong supporter of free markets in this country, the Canada West Foundation, has even published recently on the issue of civil servant pay and the performance of governments and economies.  Holding onto skilled workers requires paying them a decent living and it is not cost effective to try and suppress wages or salaries in pursuit of illusory tax savings.  Governments, like any business in the private sector, are delivering a product or a service, and key to provide value for money is having that skilled, experienced workforce.  Losing staff or having to rehire, train up etc. is a costly strategy for any organization.

As living wage discussions take centre stage, some of the other discussions around compensation are worth looking at.  Here's the Canada West piece; good reading on the subject:

1 comment:

  1. Here in Norway we publish everyone's income online, so that income doesn't become a big secret, as it is in Canada.

    I think this is better, since it doesn't make income a private matter, and it's easier to spot people earning too much or too little. The newspaper makes headlines of the biggest differences and abnormalities every year, which again also makes it easier to spot fraud.

    here is my income for 2009 translated to english by google:


    As you can see my income is low since I was a student. On the stats I'm compared to others born in my year, the whole country, my home town and my current city. Colours are 2006-2009.

    In Canada i would guess that the newspapers could make headlines of comparisons between walmart workers and Thrifty's workers, and maybe one construction worker to another, or education vs. salary in construction and other jobs.

    I do know that it is unrealistic that this would come in Canada in the next years, of course. Still a good idea though.