Across the country, United Way Centraides are supporting the work of the Living Wage Network, a vital poverty reduction tool that aligns with United Way’s investment strategies. In Niagara, we have strongly supported the Ontario Living Wage Network for many years and, since late 2022, are proud to house our own Living Wage advocacy program under the United Way Niagara umbrella.
Now 89 companies in the Niagara Region are certified Living Wage Employers. This means that for the 3,282 people employed by these companies, the heavy burden of financial stress can be lifted.
Living Wage Niagara aligns with the current Poverty to Possibility framework, and the program outcomes directly impact families and individuals in Niagara. An adequate income directly correlates to quality of life and overall well-being. Through this program, we are actively working to ensure more people earn a living wage, so they can make ends meet where they live.
The coordinated efforts of the Living Wage program have grown steadily since United Way Niagara became directly involved, with ten newly certified businesses since the fall of 2022. Now 89 companies in the Niagara Region are certified Living Wage Employers. This means that for the 3,282 people employed by these companies, the heavy burden of financial stress can be lifted.
United Way Niagara’s Living Wage Program Coordinator, Isha Dadhwal, manages the program responsibilities, working to increase awareness and engagement in the Living Wage Niagara Program across the region with a goal of continued growth. This includes networking and speaking at events, promoting the benefits of a Living Wage Certification, connecting employers to the Ontario Living Wage Network, building connections, and being a point of contact for any questions in regards to the Living Wage Program.
“Living Wage Employers are essential in an equitable, just and sustainable economy. When we value the work of all individuals and ensure they earn enough to meet their basic needs, we not only support their physical and emotional well-being but also contribute to a stronger, healthier economy and a more equitable world for all.” – Isha Dadhwal, Living Wage Program Coordinator
Living Wage Niagara is made possible thanks to funding from the Niagara Region through the Niagara Prosperity Initiative, which provides annual investments in the community to support poverty reduction and prevention activities. They recognized the importance of continuing and expanding the Living Wage Program and acknowledged United Way Niagara’s capability to help do so. Their support has allowed us to significantly impact community members’ lives, contributing positively to the community as a whole.
Becoming a certified Living Wage Employer benefits the business, its employees and the community as a whole – improving our economy and the financial security of the families who live, work and play in Niagara.
United Way Niagara is proud to provide Living Wage Niagara with a strong foundation to build on the work of the Ontario Living Wage Network in Niagara. We are well on our way to exceeding our goals and expectations and we truly believe in the potential that this program has to lift vulnerable people out of poverty. Becoming a certified Living Wage Employer benefits the business, its employees and the community as a whole – improving our economy and the financial security of the families who live, work and play in Niagara.
For United Way Niagara, accepting the new responsibilities of Living Wage Niagara was never under any debate. We believe the Living Wage program fits seamlessly with our investment strategies, our overall mission to improve lives and build a strong community, and our work to end poverty in Niagara. We are proud to provide the new home to Living Wage Niagara, a partner of the Ontario Living Wage Network.