Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2017

Publication Title

Ivey Business Publishing


The living wage, social inequality, Windsor


The living wage is a call to private and public sector employers to pay wages to both direct and contract employees sufficient to provide the basics to individuals. This wage reflects the belief that every individual has the right to enjoy good health, recreation, culture and entertainment, to raise children, and to fully partake in social and civic activities, as opposed to minimally surviving. This movement is growing across Canada and the world.

Broadly, the case discusses social inequality, and more narrowly, it examines the Living Wage in Canada, then Ontario, then within one Ontario city, Windsor. The case describes a real world situation where a manager at a local credit union must make a decision on whether to raise the pay of lower level employees to be consistent with a Living Wage.

In making their decision, students will need to balance corporate values at the credit union as it seeks to be a social leader in their community with the need for profits, and whether paying a Living Wage will boost revenue to offset the extra cost in wages. Further, while the initial increase in cost is restricted to the 5% of employees earning less than the Living Wage, an increase in pay at the bottom of the scale may necessitate an increase for the other employees as well.