Menno S. Martin – Better Way Alliance

Fair job practices are important to us. Our philosophy that we run the business by
is putting people first. I think one of the most often heard misconceptions
of providing decent wages is that it’s too expensive. So they’re just looking at their direct payroll
costs, they’re not taking into consideration training costs and costs of bringing in new employees. They just look at “if I pay someone $1 an hour more,
that’s coming directly out of my pocket”. But we look at the long term viability of
the company and we feel that paying a decent wage leads to that long term viability. Menno Martin started the company in 1942. I’ve been here for 30 years. In the construction industry, there’s a lot
of issues around, not employing decent work practices- safety being a major one, Ministry
of Labour regs aren’t followed. You know those are often the first things that people
cut out because they don’t value the workforce. But it creates an unlevel playing field for
the rest of the industry. As the homeowner, you’re exposed to different
liabilities that you wouldn’t be if you hired someone that’s operating above board. There’s certainly been increased discussion
since we announced our living wage stance. We actually had one of our subcontractors,
he was just in the hiring process for a staff member and when I approached him about living
wage and wanted to get him on board, he decided to bump up his bottom wage grid to meet the
living wage standard. I think if I could say anything to other businesses,
I would say it’s not the scary thing that you might think at first. There are increased short-term costs, but
those are just short-term costs to providing a higher wage, but if you look at the overall
business cost over a year or multiple years, you’re gaining those back, multiple times. There is a movement out there. It just raises the bar in the community. It also sets your business up to a higher
standard as well. So I would say, just get out there and do it.

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