April 30, 2021

All workers deserve a living wage

FoodShare is now a living wage employer

May 1st is International Workers’ Day, also known as May Day. On this day of international solidarity, workers rally for their rights. Of particular historical significance was the struggle for the eight hour work day, at a time when many workers would toil 10-16 hours per day under dangerous conditions.

Today, the struggle continues. Workers continue to have to strategize and organize for basic rights like paid sick days, safe working conditions and fairer wages.

We don’t think workers should have to fight for basic decency and dignity.

That’s why FoodShare is proud to announce one small step— we are officially becoming a Living Wage Employer.

The living wage is the amount of money people need to earn to cover the actual costs of getting by. In contrast to the minimum wage, which currently sits at $14.35 per hour for the province of Ontario, the living wage in Toronto is $22.08. 

This means that moving forward no one working at FoodShare will earn less than $22.08/hour*.

This rate is provided by the Living Wage Network, and is calculated based on the needs of a family of four with two adults working full-time. The rate also allows young adults to plan for their futures, as well as enabling older workers to have some extra income as they age.

The leadership team at FoodShare recognizes that no one should be living in poverty, or experiencing food insecurity. This commitment to a living wage for all staff is our food justice values in action. It’s also a key action that was identified in our Combating Anti-Black Racism Action Plan (activity #18).

At FoodShare, we believe all workers deserve a living wage. 

WATCH: FoodShare Executive Director Paul Taylor’s full living wage announcement, or read the transcript below.

It is International Workers’ Day, and I want to take this opportunity to both thank and acknowledge workers everywhere.

It’s workers, as you know, that keep us fed; they provide care; they also grow, prepare and deliver our food. They do so much.

But, unfortunately, in far too many ways, we continue to let workers down.

As a society we allow for the exploitation of workers through poverty wages, precarious gig work and far too many things that are left optional for employers.

We owe workers more than cheers, tears and gratitude. We owe them justice and we owe it to them now.

Recognition alone, while it might be appreciated, isn’t enough. Workers can’t pay the bills with nice words.

They deserve a living wage. It’s what all workers deserve.

Today I’m proud to share that FoodShare has officially become a living wage employer.

Not one person on our team will earn less than $22.08 [per hour], which is Toronto’s living wage.

We’ve also included in our policies that our highest paid worker will earn no more than three times what the lowest paid worker earns. That’s what it means to be in this together.

If you are an employer: workers can’t wait any longer for economic justice. If you want to join us in committing to paying liveable wages, please check out the Ontario Living Wage Network. We can do this.

If you are a FoodShare donor, thank you for helping to make this possible.

And once again, thank you to our workers, to all workers – on May Day, and everyday.

*Note: later in 2021 FoodShare increased its minimum wage to $24/hour, exceeding Toronto’s living wage.

PS: show your support for workers – purchase a Living Wage artwork print from our shop (artwork by Moe Pramanick).