Toki Doki co-owners Madi Greyson and Kei Lowes stand in front of their food truck on Industrial Way. They recently became a certified Living Wage for Families employer. ((Nora O’Malley photo)

Toki Doki co-owners Madi Greyson and Kei Lowes stand in front of their food truck on Industrial Way. They recently became a certified Living Wage for Families employer. ((Nora O’Malley photo)

Tofino’s first living wage certified restaurant sets the bar

Tofino’s newest takeout spot Toki Doki has upped the ante for West Coast businesses by becoming a certified Living Wage Employer.

While the minimum wage in B.C. is $15.20 an hour, the 2021 Living Wage for Families in the Clayoquot Biosphere Region is $21.15 an hour, a $1.52 increase from 2019.

The Living Wage is calculated as the hourly amount that each of two working parents with two young children must earn to meet their basic expenses, including: food, rent, transportation and child care. While the calculation takes into account government subsidies, it is viewed as the “bare bones” wage a family needs for an adequate quality of life, according to the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust.

At no surprise, Tofino and Ucluelet have the highest living wage in the province, largely due to the high cost of rent and groceries. Greater Victoria’s living wage is $20.46/hour and Nanaimo’s is $16.33/hour, by comparison.

Toki Doki co-owners Madi Greyson and Kei Lowes say providing a living wage to their staff was the least that they could do.

“We may not be able to afford to build a house to put our staff in, but at least this gives them a chance to find a healthy accommodation by providing a stable income,” said Greyson, adding that they also provide full benefits.

The only other organization in the Clayoquot Sound region that is Living Wage certified is the non-profit Coastal Restoration Society.

“We were really shocked to find out that we were the first restaurant provider in the area to be certified,” Greyson said.

She encouraged other businesses to step up.

“If you are able to, if you are in the position to have less profit at the end of the year, but be able to provide healthy living for your staff members, I don’t see it should be something that should even be a consideration. Otherwise we see what happens to all the people that live in town. They burnout and then they leave,” she said.

In 2021, Living Wage for Families BC certified over 100 new living wage employers across B.C., double the amount of any previous year, says Living Wage for Families BC Organizer Anastasia French.

“Which points to how employers have found paying a living wage as a solution to some of the pandemic-related hiring challenges they have experienced,” French said.

For more information about becoming a Living Wage certified for BC email info@livingwageforfamilies.ca or visit https://www.livingwageforfamilies.ca/.



nora.omalley@westerlynews.ca

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