Prince Edward County’s Newspaper of Record
May 14, 2024
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A Living Wage: Supporting People and Programs

The topic of a living wage is more pressing than ever before.

“I don’t want to pay for your salary.”

Not-for-Profits bump up against this idea when fundraising. People prefer to donate to higher profile programs or services, rather than support the people behind the scenes, the ones who make it all happen.

The rising cost of living has everyone feeling the pinch in some way, from gas to groceries. The topic of a living wage is more pressing than ever before. For employees, a living wage ensures that they can afford the necessities of life, such as food, shelter, and healthcare. This not only improves their quality of life but contributes to a sense of well-being.

Actually paying a livable wage, however, can be incredibly challenging within the Not-for-Profit (NFP) sector. According to Imagine Canada, the average wage of an employee is $38,716 in Canada, as compared to an $57,137 in the economy overall. A core reason for the wage gap is profit. Not-for-profits are community-oriented service organizations. They serve the public interest or the needs of a specific group. Generating profits is exactly not their mandate.

Dominique Jones.(Submitted photo)

Another challenge is that many potential donors, as well as granting organizations, are reluctant to support administrative or operating expenses. They prefer tangible items, such as food for food security programming or materials for art workshops.

Unstable operational funding in the NFP sector disproportionately affects women, who make up 80 per cent of the employees. According to the Ontario Non-Profit Network, 47 per cent of this workforce are immigrants, 29 per cent are visible minorities, and 5 per cent are Indigenous.

The County Foundation is now certified as a Living Wage Employer. We are committed to paying staff the living wage for the Bay of Quinte region, $20.60 per hour. We join several other employers who have pledged to do the same, such as the Prince Edward County Municipality, Wentworth Landscapes, Wander the Resort – to name just a few examples.

Through our work with donors and funders, we advocate for a higher percentage of operational support because we know this leads to more sustainable organizations. You can also make a difference by supporting a charity or non-profit with a monthly donation – it may not pay someone’s salary, but it becomes stable monthly revenue. That gives a sense of relief, and the ability to forecast and plan.

At the end of the day, we all benefit from the essential programs and services non-profits and charities offer, services provided by the people who work behind the scenes.

For more information:

Vital Signs reports:

Ontario Living Wage Network

Ontario Non-Profit Network

Imagine Canada

This text is from the Volume 194 No. 3 edition of The Picton Gazette
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