The Interfaith Food Bank Society of Lethbridge is now a certified a Living Wage Employer by committing to pay their staff $19 an hour. As part of their commitment to addressing food security, the food bank says its appropriate to become a certified Living Wage Employer.
Danielle McIntyre is the Executive Director of the organization and says “as an organization focused on food security and poverty related issues, we feel it is necessary to ensure we model ethical standards that include paying our staff team fairly for the work they do. We value our team, who work tirelessly to support our community.”
The Interfaith Food Banks Society has joined 39 other Alberta employers to certify with the Alberta Living Wage Network. “Paying our staff a living wage allows them to meet their basic needs and contribute back to their communities. Living wage also reduces employers’ recruitment efforts and training costs by increasing employee retention,” says McIntyre. She adds “we have always known we have overworked and underpaid our employees. We felt that formally being accredited that we can set an example for other groups to follow.”
She adds that not only has employee morale increased, paying a living wage has allowed the organization to shift our structure and add new job descriptions, which she hopes will have a positive impact on employee retention. “Without our staff, the food bank wouldn’t be able to effectively lead a team of more than 150 volunteers who sustain the mission and mandate of Interfaith Food Bank Society of Lethbridge.”
While Interfaith Food Bank Society of Lethbridge has paid higher than minimum wage for years, they have been working to build to a point where paying a living wage is sustainable. Their commitment was solidified when the Alberta Living Wage Network launched and released the Living Wage Report in November 2021.