Economic development implements living wage for employees

As the price of goods and services skyrocket and the cost of living becomes astronomically out of balance with the current minimum wage, Six Nations of the Grand River Economic Development Corp. has created its own minimum living wage at least a few dollars higher an hour than the provincial wage.

The living wage – starting at $18 an hour – was implemented on Mar. 13 this year. SNGRDC said it has had trouble attracting and retaining employees.

SNGRDC says it hopes the increased living wage will provide employees an opportunity “to earn an income that can support a good quality of life.”

“One of our aspirational goals is to become the local employer of choice,” said SNGRDC President Matt Jamieson. “In addition to our new living wage commitment, we also promote employee satisfaction through a number of offerings such as competitive benefits, pension, job shadowing, tuition reimbursement, our employee recognition program, and our recently implemented mentorship program.”

All permanent front-line employees will receive a starting wage of $18 per hour and increase to $19 per hour following the successful completion of a three-month probationary period. SNGRDC also offers an attendance incentive of $1 per hour among other benefits.

“It blew me away,” said employee Erin Porter.  “I have a family of five and help care for some of my siblings so I’ve felt this increase. With the wage increase I will be able to extend my weekly grocery bill budget, pay for my daughters dental procedures & their sports for the summer.”

The increase amounts to about $2 to $3 an hour compared to the previous wage. The provincial minimum wage is $15.50 per hour.

SNGRDC employs about 100 people, including the employees at Six Nations Bingo.

The increase adds a $349,000 expense to the SNGRDC annual budget.

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