Councillor Bob Bose brings idea of living-wage policy to Surrey

Surrey city councillor Bob Bose wants his municipality to explore the idea of a living-wage policy.

Bose said Surrey had a “fair wage” policy that was scrapped in the 1990s. He wants the city to revisit the concept in light of New Westminster’s decision last year to establish its own living-wage policy, billed as a first in Canada.

On February 28, Surrey council passed a motion brought forward by Bose directing staff to look into the matter.

“We’ve got a moral obligation to see that there’s fairness in society and that we don’t contribute to unfairness as a city,” Bose told the Straight by phone today (March 7).

“I think it’s an important public-policy issue and I’m hoping that we’ll move forward with it quickly.”

A living wage has been defined as the minimum hourly rate required for a four-person household with two working adults to afford food and shelter and meet other needs.

For Metro Vancouver in 2010, that works out to $18.17, according to the Living Wage for Families Campaign.

Bose said any living-wage policy would likely apply to “all people providing goods and services under contract” to the City of Surrey.

He wasn't able to say exactly how many workers are providing services under contract to the city for less than what would be considered a living wage.



Ken Lawson

Mar 7, 2011 at 5:48pm

Hell that should be Provincial wide especially in the City of Vancouver

0 0Rating: 0


Mar 8, 2011 at 12:24pm

I disagree 100%. $18.17 as a minimum hourly rate is simply to high, and creates an environment of people doing the bare minimum. I can see groups petitioning that 18 is not enough, and it should be 25, then 35 etc etc. People need to live the lifestyle they can afford, and work hard for their money.

What about the people who have worked hard to get to $18/hour. How will they feel now that someone who does not work as hard as them gets the same automatically. Who will do the job that today requires $18/hour if tomorrow they can do much less for the same amount?

Thank god we all get a vote...

0 0Rating: 0

Lisa Barrett

Mar 14, 2011 at 6:58pm

Hey, NDB. If you don't think a nurse or a municipal works ditch-digger or a janitor or a child care worker work hard for their money, I suggest you find someone you don't believe is worth $18 and hour and do that job as well as they do. For at least a week. Then get back to us. So here's Linda McQuaig's take on the deserving wealthy, just for you:

'Common sense tells us it's wrong that hedge fund manager John Paulson made $3.7 billion in 2007, while a typical nurse earned about $45,000.

Paulson made his billions by betting against the subprime mortgage market, helping trigger the 2008 financial collapse. In what moral universe is he worth as much as a single nurse – let alone 82,000 nurses?

-The so-called "free market" is nothing more than a set of laws devised by humans.-

Our tolerance for this sort of absurd discrepancy illustrates our abject submission to the dictates of modern economic doctrine. According to this economic dogma, Paulson's income – just like the income of a nurse – is determined by natural market forces, and any attempt to adjust incomes amounts to meddlesome interference in the free workings of the marketplace.'

0 0Rating: 0


Mar 14, 2011 at 10:06pm

ndb, in my experience, the harder you work, the less you get paid. ie: labourers get the hardest work, paid less. Managers get paid more. Why do labourers want to become managers? For the less physically demanding, higher pay position.

0 0Rating: 0