Ucluelet First Nation adopts living wage policy

"I won't have to work a second job and I can spend more time with my family including two young kids."

The Ucluelet First Nation officially adopted a living wage policy on Thursday.

Beginning June 1, all hourly employees of the Ucluelet First Nation’s government will be paid at least $20.11 an hour.

“As a Treaty Nation, we are free to make our own decisions, in accordance with our own laws,” said the Nation’s president Les Doiron through a June 1 media release. “We are no longer a ward of the Federal Government and dependent on INAC…The Treaty affords us the ability to make decisions—such as the living wage policy—that makes a positive difference in our community.”

Doiron championed the Nation’s implementation of a living wage policy and said employees should not have to work two or three jobs to make ends meets.

“This living wage policy is huge for our people,” he said. “The cost of living is extremely high where we live and I wanted to ensure our people do not suffer unfairly as a result. That is why I made adopting a living wage policy a priority. The new living wage is really going to make a difference for our people.”

Celena Cook, an employee with the Ucluelet First Nation government, said the living wage would allow her to spend more time with her family.

“It means I won’t have to work a second job and I can spend more time with my family including two young kids,” she said.

Doiron said the Ucluelet First Nation is the second First Nation in Canada to implement a living wage policy and joined Vancouver, Huu-ay-aht First Nation, Port Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Parksville, New Westminster and Quesnel as one of eight local governments in B.C. to have one.

Living Wage for Families Campaign organizer Deanna Ogle cheered the decision.

“By paying a living wage, the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Government is demonstrating a strong commitment to the economic health of the community,” she said. “A living wage policy is a powerful expression of the community value of caring for one another.”

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