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Archive for March, 2014

REGINA’S LIVING WAGE: $16.46 PER HOUR

Posted by strattof on March 30, 2014

An hourly wage of $16.46 is just sufficient to meet the basic needs of a Regina family of four with both parents working full time. Many Regina workers earn less than this even though they work full time – meaning they are in poverty or in danger of falling into poverty.

The Living Wage is one means by which we can achieve greater fairness and dignity. Paying workers a Living Wage helps build community by ensuring that families have adequate income to participate in work, life, recreational, and community activities. And it helps business by boosting local purchasing power and reducing employee turnover.

Let’s make sure workers are paid enough so they can do more than merely survive.

MONTHLY BUDGET FOR A FAMILY OF FOUR
Here’s a bare bones budget for a Regina family of four, with two parents, a boy aged seven, and a girl aged four.

• Both parents work full time year round.
• The family rents a three bedroom apartment and has a used car and a Regina Transit pass.
• The children are in licensed preschool and school aged day cares.
• The parents each take one course per year at SIAST to upgrade their credentials.

A Living Wage of $16.46 per hour means a monthly income of $4,853, just enough to meet the above expenses. This leaves little opportunity for saving, although a small contingency ($192 a month) allows meeting unexpected emergencies such as family illness or having to relocate to a different apartment.

WHAT IS THE LIVING WAGE?
The Living Wage differs from the minimum wage. The $10 per hour Saskatchewan minimum wage is a poverty level wage. A Living Wage is sufficient to meet a family’s basic needs and ensure that it does not slip into poverty. In Regina, 27 per cent of workers earn less than the Living Wage of $16.46 per hour. Many are teenagers but 59 per cent are aged 25 or older, meaning they and their families struggle to meet monthly bills.

DOES ANYONE PAY A LIVING WAGE?
In British Columbia, Vancity and Community Savings credit unions, the United Way of Lower Mainland, and Café Etico are Living Wage employers. The City of New Westminster requires all firms contracting directly or indirectly with the city to provide services on city premises to pay their workers a Living Wage. Following a recent referendum, the council for the City of Seatac in the state of Washington requires workers to be paid $15 per hour.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A LIVING WAGE?
• It reduces poverty.
• It helps close the gap between female and male wages.
• It increases workers’ purchasing power.
• It reduces employee turnover.

Workers, their families, communities, businesses, and the City of Regina will all benefit from a Living Wage.

LET’S MAKE REGINA A LIVING WAGE CITY!

TAKE ACTION
• Read about the Living Wage in the 2014 Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – Saskatchewan report A Living Wage for Regina: http://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/reports/living-wage-regina
• Find out more about reducing poverty in Saskatchewan:
►Poverty Free Saskatchewan: http://www.povertyfreesask.ca/
►Upstream http://www.povertycosts.ca
• Support businesses that pay their workers a Living Wage.
• If you are an employer, make sure all your employees are paid a Living Wage.
• Encourage the City of Regina to make sure that all city employees are paid a Living Wage and that all employers contracting with the city pay their employees a Living Wage. Send this leaflet to your MLA and City Councillor.

IT’S TIME FOR A LIVING WAGE!

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DOWNTOWN SHUTTLE BUSES: A VERY BAD IDEA

Posted by strattof on March 23, 2014

Mayor Michael Fougere wants to remove regular transit buses from 11th Avenue in order to “lessen congestion” downtown. This plan will force transit users to transfer from regular buses to smaller shuttle buses to get downtown.

The location of the transfer points has not yet been made public. They will, however, be located somewhere on the periphery of the downtown area.

It is a very bad plan that will have a negative impact not only on transit users, but on all Regina citizens. It should be abandoned.

THE SHUTTLE BUS PLAN WILL HAVE

A NEGATIVE IMPACT ON PUBLIC TRANSIT USERS
• The shuttle bus plan will add to transit users’ travel time.
• It will be inconvenient for transit users, as it will require a bus transfer.
• It will be extremely awkward, possibly even chaotic, for transit users. Imagine 40 passengers getting off a regular bus with strollers and walkers and briefcases and backpacks and scrambling to get on a 20-seat shuttle bus.

A NEGATIVE IMPACT ON REGINA TRANSIT
• The shuttle bus plan will discourage people from using public transit.
• The past four years have seen a dramatic increase in transit ridership in Regina. In just the past two years, ridership has grown by 13.8%. It is a trend that needs to be encouraged, not discouraged.

A NEGATIVE IMPACT ON DOWNTOWN CONGESTION
• Mayor Fougere says his shuttle bus plan will “lessen congestion downtown.” However, transferring 40 people from a regular bus onto two smaller shuttle buses will, in fact, increase congestion downtown, not decrease it.
• If the mayor really wishes to reduce congestion, he needs to promote public transit. A regular busload of passengers takes up far less road space than 40 cars.

A NEGATIVE IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT
• Many scientists believe that climate change is the single biggest threat facing the world today. Transit helps the environment. One busload of passengers takes the equivalent of 40 vehicles off the road, reducing emissions by more than 15,000 tonnes a year.

Instead of spending our tax dollars on shuttle buses, City Council needs to focus on improving Regina Transit so as to further increase ridership.

6 REASONS FOR IMPROVING PUBLIC TRANSIT
1. Public transit reduces congestion.
2. Public transit cuts greenhouse gas emissions.
3. Public transit is safe. In 2012 there were 6,012 traffic accidents in Regina, involving 1,624 injuries and 9 fatalities. Although Regina Transit’s fleet of buses is on the road 18 hours a day, in 2012 transit buses were only involved in 61 accidents, resulting in a mere 28 injuries and 0 fatalities.
4. Public transit saves you money. Downtown parking costs on average $200 per month. A 30-day adult bus pass costs $62.
5. Public transit gives you time to relax. You can read or chat or meditate on the bus with no safety worries.
6. Public transit helps everyone. Folks who serve us in hospitals, restaurants, and stores need transit to get to work. Businesses need customers and workers to get there. Transit is essential for people who cannot afford, or do not have the health, to drive a car. It is also necessary for people who choose not to drive.

HOW TO IMPROVE REGINA TRANSIT

  • Provide more frequent service.
  • Provide earlier and later service.
  • Offer full Sunday and holiday service following Saturday schedules.

PARATRANSIT
Paratransit desperately needs funding. In 2012, 1,400 calls for Paratransit went unanswered because of a lack of resources. “Equal access for persons with disabilities to public services is a human right” protected under the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code and Canadian law.

Double Paratransit resources and services.

TAKE ACTION

Let Mayor Fougere and your City Councillor know that you want regular transit buses to remain on 11th Avenue and that you reject the shuttle bus plan as a very bad idea.

 Mayor Michael Fougere 777-7339 or mayor@regina.ca

Ward 1: Barbara Young  539-4081 or byoung@regina.ca

Ward 2: Bob Hawkins  789-2888 or bhawkins@regina.ca

Ward 3: Shawn Fraser 551-5030 or sfraser@regina.ca

Ward 4: Bryon Burnett 737-3347 or bburnett@regina.ca

Ward 5: John Findura 536-4250 or jfindura@regina.ca

Ward 6: Wade Murray 596-1035 or wmurray@regina.ca

Ward 7: Sharron Bryce 949-5025 or sbryce@regina.ca

Ward 8: Mike O’Donnell 545-7300 or modonnell@regina.ca

Ward 9: Terry Hincks 949-9690 or thincks@regina.ca

Ward 10:Jerry Flegel 537-9888 or jflegel@regina.ca

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