LSPC urges Thunder Bay to join Living Wage Campaign

By Kevin Jeffrey
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

THUNDER BAY — The Lakehead Social Planning Council made an immediate call to action on Monday night – for the City of Thunder Bay to jump on board with the Living Wage Campaign.

The call to action came while the LSPC presented its poverty reduction strategy 2023 annual report to council.

Program manager Bonnie Krysowaty maintained that in the five years since it started running, the Living Wage Campaign has not cost anything to any organization that has implemented it.

“It never will, I can guarantee that. I am the expert in this field,” Krysowaty said to council.

“I would hope that city council will trust that expertise and join the Living Wage Campaign to really show organizations that people need to make the social determinants of health. If workers are living in poverty, we’ll continue with the same social issues that we have right now.

“If we eliminate poverty, we would eliminate homelessness and be able to offer all the supports and services that people need.”

The council also came with an ask to maintain annual financial support of $50,000 for the work of the Thunder Bay Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Krysowaty told council that Thunder Bay is a city where more than 50 per cent of people are living below the poverty line, and urged them to support initiatives like guaranteed basic income.

“We do have a lot of excellent resources that are going towards homelessness efforts right now. We are also doing well in terms of organizations collectively working together to make sure that people experiencing homelessness are getting the support and services they need. In that respect, we are definitely ahead of the game. But as far as poverty, we’re not ahead of the game at all.”

The city has previously rejected joining the campaign in 2022 as they said applying it to part-time municipal employees would cost over $580,000.

A report in November suggested that workers in Northern Ontario now need to earn $19.80 per hour in order to make a living wage.