Our values at the CBC are deeply rooted in sustainability. Whether on the farm, in the brewery, taphouse or kitchen, we’re motivated to create pathways that build momentum. Naturally, this notion extends to all of our staff. We are proud to say that the CBC is a certified Ontario Living Wage Network Employer. A living wage reflects the amount of income that someone needs to earn to cover the actual costs of living in their community. Thus, earning a living wage results in the ability to lead a sustainable lifestyle.
The Voice of the Living:
As a member of the CBC staff, I find the language alone being used here contributes to the respect that receiving a living wage represents. Instead of being provided with a minimum wage (literally the bare minimum by law), we receive an adequate amount to lead a productive life. We aren’t just numbers; we aren’t expendable. We are people that form a community, and our employer recognizes us as such.
Charlotteville Brewing Co is one of the two Ontario Living Wage Network Employers in Norfolk County and the only one in the service industry. The other is the bank, Libro Credit Union. There are additional employers in this network beyond Norfolk County, and they can be found here: ontariolivingwage.ca
Additionally, we receive medical and dental benefits, which ultimately turns the living wage into a prosperity wage. I’ve never met anyone else in the service industry who has benefits and would be surprised if I ever do at this time.
When it comes to measuring the quality of life, these are some of the social determinants that play a major role in our health and wellness. If we have the means to take care of our physical health, our mental health gets a strong foundation to build on. Knowing that our employer pays attention to these needs is sweet, and provides the means to promote not only our professional, but our personal success as well. In turn, we value our place at the brewery and are motivated to value the work we do here even more. It’s as if a ladder that has come into view.
Contributing to the Community:
Making an adequate income allows us to participate in events and activities within the community, and in doing so we are able to contribute to the local economy. My coworkers very much agree that our living wage combined with the tips we earn, allow us to thrive within Norfolk County. We don’t have to live a life paycheque to paycheque, always being in survival mode as you often do in the service industry. We get to lead lives doing what we love and want to do. This results in stimulating the social ecology within Norfolk: if more employers invest in their staff, the county will grow and prosper, making it better place to live for all of us.
Throughout my time working at Charlotteville, I’ve been able to do some travelling and explore my curiosities. I’ve also had the opportunity and luxury to take courses furthering my education.
Even before Charlotteville joined the Ontario Network of Living Wage Employers, they’ve provided sustainable efforts in employment. After every shift we are treated to a “staff pint” and very often treated to family meals. This conviviality allows for discussions of our successes and challenges inside and outside of work. The owners, Mel and Tim, encourage our growth in the direction of our talents and interests, and do their best to cultivate unique positions around these. This allows us to find deeper meaning and fulfilment in our work. Whether we find a career or a just a stepping stone along the way, they are there to support, teach and push us in the right direction. And together we create pathways of momentum.
We are very fortunate to live in a country like Canada where all of this is possible. We must not lose sight of this!! Employers like Charlotteville practice this awareness and gratitude by providing us with the Ontario Living Wage. I hope more employers catch on to this movement in due time, as we all truly deserve to prosper onwards and upwards.
By Ms. E Hoey