As an entrepreneur for the past 24 years, I believe employment should provide opportunity and at the very least an income that reflects the economic realities of day to day life. Having said that, I admit that I initially struggled with the concept of "living wage" as it seemed difficult to measure the expectation of Ontario's employment standards (minimum wage) against the hard realities that some of my youngest and less experienced full-time employees struggled to pay their bills and provide for their families without secondary or weekend employment.
In 2012 my wife Debra and I decided our newest small parts manufacturing business would not even consider minimum wage as factor for our entry level employees, instead, we used a calculation that reflected the real cost of living, known as "living wage". Our internal living wage policy has set the stage for a more desirable workplace and since it's implementation we have seen positive impacts in focus, team-building, and overall productivity. As the employer, I have become much more aware of the "cost of living" and value that "livability" brings to the workplace.
I strongly believe in the promotion and adoption of a municipal "Living Wage" policy that can be used as an example of leadership for employers considering a move from the traditional "minimum wage" model which falls terribly short of providing the necessities for the kind of strong, healthy, and vibrant communities we all desire.