More Saskatoon businesses pledging to pay living wage

Eight businesses across the city have signed a pledge to pay all employees a living wage, which currently sits at $16.19/hour in Saskatoon.

City's living wage of $16.19/hour takes into account cost of food, shelter, cost of living

Eight businesses in Saskatoon have pledged to pay a living wage to all of their workers. (CBC)

Louis Assant said it was the right thing to do.

Assant, the CEO of AODBT Architecture, has pledged to pay all of his employees a living wage. He said he often thinks about poverty reduction, and wants to make sure his workers have enough money to get by.

"At the end of the day, you want to have a happy staff," he told CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning.

"And if you pay them fairly, they not only do good work, but they're putting their best foot forward."

The living wage is a standard formula that takes basic costs into consideration, like food and shelter, for a family of four. In Saskatoon, that wage currently sits at $16.19/hour, about $5 more than the provincial minimum wage.

So far, eight businesses across the city have signed a pledge to pay all employees a living wage.

"I've been pleasantly surprised at how receptive people are," said Living Wage Saskatoon co-ordinator Cody Sharpe.

"The last employers that we had certify contacted me. They weren't folks that I had contacted."

The business case

Sharpe said there's a strong business case for paying employees based on a living wage.

"They're less absent, they'll take less sick time and that results in cost savings," he said.

"If you have employees leaving your business on a regular basis, then you can avoid that cost of rehiring, retraining and putting postings out there." 

The living wage formula can grow or shrink depending on conditions in the area. The living wage shrank by around 50 cents this year, due to the expansion of the Canada Child Benefit.

Living Wage Saskatoon wants to expand the program and hopes to have 12 businesses pledge to pay a living wage by the end of the year.