In order to afford the basic necessities of life you have to have a job. But what if the compensation you receive for working that job is not enough to cover your food, shelter, and basic living expenses. Surviving on minimum wage is impossible depending on where you live in Ontario; life is simply more expensive in Toronto than it might be in a more rural community. That’s why social advocates are encouraging proactive employers to pay their employees a living wage.
The living wage is the amount of money an individual needs to earn each hour in order to live. In a province like Ontario, the living wage needed varies from region to region. Right now the minimum wage in Ontario is $15.50 an hour. According to the Ontario Living Wage Network, the average living wage in the province is $20.40/hour. In Toronto, that number climbs to $23.15/hour. Regardless of the amount, the fact is the living wage continues to rise as interest rates climb, rents spiral, and groceries become more expensive.
The owners of Dettmer Tire and Auto Centre in Guelph have recently become a living wage employer, and that’s welcome news for some of the staff who received an increase in their wage. Dettmer Tire has been in business for nearly 45 years, and management acknowledges that the company’s longevity and success would not have been made possible without their dedicated employees.
“We implemented the living wage in April,” said Josh Adams, office manager at Dettmer Tire and Auto Centre in downtown Guelph. “The thinking behind it was we wanted to make sure our employees are able to survive in Guelph. It’s important that they’re able to do that. From a business standpoint, if they’re busy wondering how they’re going to make it until the end of the week it’s hard to focus on the work.”
Adams said the decision for Dettmer Tire to become a living wage employer was based on their belief that no full-time employee should have to choose between eating or paying the bills.
“It is highly important to us that we pay it forward to our staff and the community by providing a wage that allows them the opportunity to take care of both their physical and mental health,” he said. “We want our employees to be proud of who they work for and to provide a level of comfort within our workplace that allows everyone to look out for each other's best interests.”
Many employers existing on thin margins often argue against mandated living wage policies, saying that paying anything more than minimum wage is difficult. However, Adams says there are mutual benefits to both employer and employee.
“To other employers, I would remind them that the short-term savings of paying minimum wage will always be outweighed by quick turn-over and an absence of commitment. Your staff is a very large part of your success, so to truly succeed, they too should be given the opportunity to succeed.”
With summer winding down it’s a good time to book your fall maintenance. Now you can do it at a living wage employer.
Visit either of the two locations of Dettmer Tire, 325 Eramosa Road or 23 Cork Street East in Guelph. Learn more online here.