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RELEASE: Ken Sim and ABC double down on appalling decision to reject Living Wage

As rent continues its meteoric rise, Ken Sim and ABC vote to continue wage cuts for janitors, security guards and other City workers

VANCOUVER (Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Territories) - Following the defeat of Councillor Christine Boyle’s efforts to reinstate Vancouver’s Living Wage certification, the Councillor released the following statement:

“Ken Sim and his ABC team have voted against reinstating our Living Wage policy, leaving 240 direct city employees and many more contract workers earning a wage that doesn’t cover even the most basic costs of living here. 

In doing so, Mayor Sim and ABC continue their pattern of talking big and acting small when it comes to our city’s very serious problems. As the cost of living squeezes working families out of our city, Ken Sim has decided that they do not deserve to be paid enough to live here. Whether it’s a five-year average or a three-year average, it’s clear: janitors, security guards and other City workers will no longer be paid a Living Wage. Today's vote means that working people will always be falling behind.

The Living Wage is more than a policy. It’s an expression of values. It says: if you work here, you deserve to make enough to live here. You are not just an employee - you are a neighbour, and a valued member of our community.

This rejection of the Living Wage is an embarrassment. It’s impossible to spin. If people who work for the city don’t earn enough to live here, we are pushing our own staff and contract workers into very long commutes and increased stress, reliance on food banks or inadequate housing. As the BC Federation of Labour said of the initial decision to end the Living Wage certification, it’s just appalling.

A Living Wage - which is an hourly wage that is enough to support a family on two incomes - is life-changing for the workers who receive it. They can celebrate birthdays, they can buy gifts for their children. They have the space to do more than just worry about getting by.

We had a chance to hear from some of those workers today. Ken Sim and ABC could have chosen to listen to them, and to the over one thousand people who have written letters or signed petitions to return the Living Wage policy to Vancouver, and to the labour organizations who represent hundreds of thousands of working people in this city. 

They could have thought about the hundreds of city staff and contract workers, mostly security, janitorial, graffiti removal and traffic control workers, whose lives are much harder without a Living Wage. 

Instead, Ken Sim and ABC chose to reject the Living Wage. In doing so, they have demonstrated that they are profoundly out of touch with the serious cost of living challenges working people in this City face every day. Vancouver deserves better.”


"As a hotel worker and single mom, I know what it’s like to struggle in this city to make ends  meet. Workers like me are being driven out of the city because of the affordability crisis. It’s outrageous that Vancouver City Council would vote to end the requirement that all employees and contractors be paid a Living Wage."  

  • Naden Abenes, Hotel Worker, Unite Here Local 40 

“Youth, immigrants and students can only survive in this housing, health and climate crisis by working multiple jobs. The costs rise and we’re not given a chance to keep up, we don’t feel like this city represents us. How can we expect to ever be represented if city workers can’t afford to live here? The City should be paying a living wage so that all city workers can afford to live here in the community that they contribute so much to.”

  •  Jose Reyeros, international student, worker and community organizer

More information on the Living Wage calculation is available here:

The recently released in camera report on the City of Vancouver Employer Certification here: 


OneCity Vancouver communications committee

[email protected]


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