It Pays to Pay Well! The EOHU is now a Certified Living Wage Employer
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) is proud to announce that they have been certified as a Living Wage Employer by the Ontario Living Wage Network. A living wage is pay per hour needed to cover the actual cost of living, including housing, food, childcare, healthcare, transportation, and recreation, based on the local costs. For the region of Akwesasne, Cornwall, and the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, the Ontario Living Wage Network has identified a wage of $20.60 an hour.
Living wage versus minimum wage
Living wage is not the same as minimum wage. Minimum wage is the lowest amount that employers are can legally pay employees, but living wage is specific to a region, rather than the whole province, and takes into account the local costs of goods and services, as well as a small savings amount. In Ontario, the minimum wage often falls well below the living wage.
Benefits to living wages
Income can have a large impact on health, including physical, mental and emotional health. Financial instability and earning below a living wage can negatively impact health outcomes, such as when necessities are unaffordable and choices must be made between buying groceries or paying utilities, or when medical care that isn’t covered by OHIP is avoided due to cost. The stress and worry caused by the financial strain can also create or worsen other health problems, including high blood pressure, heart attacks, depression and anxiety.
Conversely, paying a living wage can have a positive impact on all aspects of health. Individuals who can afford necessities have less stress, can make healthier choices and enjoy being an active member of their community, all of which can improve physical and mental health. The health and wellbeing of EOHU employees is an integral part of the EOHU’s interim strategic plan, and paying employees a living wage is one way the EOHU is working towards that goal. Additionally, paying a living wage also helps to ensure employees feel valued, which can increase job satisfaction and retention rates, and lower absenteeism.
“We know the value of the work that our health unit employees do, and providing a wage that allows them to enjoy the best of life is one way that we can show our appreciation and support them in leading healthy lives.” says Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health at the EOHU. “We also see the benefits of a living wage every day in our employees, and the positive impact it has, not only on them, but also their family, communities and local economies.”
To learn more about the Ontario Living Wage Network, living wages, and Certified Living Wage Employers, please visit www.ontariolivingwage.ca.
For more information, contact the EOHU at 613-933-1375 or at 1-800-267-7120, or visit us online at www.EOHU.ca.