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.