How a living wage helps the bottom line for business

PORT HAWKESBURY: The Strait Area Chamber of Commerce was pleased to host a discussion on the concept of a living wage and its impact on employee attraction and retention on February 6 in Port Hawkesbury.

Speaking to a crowd of over 30 business and community stakeholders, Colleen Cameron of the Antigonish Poverty Reduction Coalition, discussed how a living wage is the hourly amount a family needs to cover basic expenses; it shows what it actually costs to live and support a family in a specific community. The presentation highlighted how people who earn at least a living wage are healthier, less stressed, able to spend more time with their children, are more food secure, and are more productive at work.

Cameron spoke about the business case for a living wage; less employee turnover, improved performance and service delivery, stronger local economies, and improved company reputation and profile.

The session was an appropriate setting for the launch of the Strait Region Vital Signs report, an initiative of the Strait Region Society for Children, Youth and Families, supported by the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia. The report is the culmination of a series of vital conversations held across the Strait area that focused on the challenges and realities of children, youth and families across the region. Reflecting the conversations of local citizens, the Vital Signs report presents a “snapshot” to stimulate conversations on the issues that impact families on a day-to-day basis, and it presents a call to action for the community on a number of fronts: community belonging, economy/employment, housing, food security/healthy eating, transportation/communication, health, and growth/development.

With the impending release of data from the Nova Scotia Quality of Life Initiative, an unprecedented research project led by Engage Nova Scotia and a group of Local Leadership Teams, the launch of the Vital Signs report is timely. The Quality of Life Initiative resulted in over 12,000 surveys being collected from Nova Scotians, and reports are currently being prepared for regions across the province. The availability of this information will further determine how Nova Scotians view their own quality of life, and will provide businesses, citizens, and policy makers with the information needed to take action to improve the well being of all Nova Scotians across economic, environmental, and cultural lines.

Recognizing that healthy economies and healthy communities depend on each other, the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce has been pleased to be a partner in these initiatives. Employee attraction and retention continues to be the number one issue faced by businesses, particularly in rural areas, so improving the quality of life must be part of the overall strategy to enable communities to prosper. The Strait Region Vital Signs report will be a catalyst to direct conversations towards action, bolstered by the strength of data collected through the Nova Scotia Quality of Life Initiative.

The “Living Wage as a Strategy for Employee Retention” session was supported by the Strait Richmond Community Health Board and 1015 The Hawk.

The Strait Area Chamber of Commerce is a not-for-profit business development organization that promotes, improves, and protects trade and commerce; ensuring that the Strait area is one of the best regions in which to invest, live, work and conduct business.

For more on the Antigonish Poverty Reduction Coalition, go to: https://porthawkesburyreporter.com/poverty-reduction-coalition-points-alarming-numbers/.