These people were able to take their big-city salaries to more affordable towns

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Alejandra MacLachey loves that her new home is on two acres, with a pool and a chicken coop, just a 10-minute walk from a lake.

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In June, he and his family moved to Upper Tantalon, NS, about 25 minutes outside Halifax, skipping their long journey to downtown Toronto each day from their home with a small backyard in the suburban town of Mississauga.

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McClatchy and her husband, Tyler, who both work in the insurance industry, are among those able to relocate to Canada’s smaller cities and towns as remote work has done its job during the pandemic – and their Big City Salary – Portable.

Statistics Canada data on internal migration during the pandemic period is not yet available, but Real estate boom in Canada’s small towns Tied, in part, to the new freedoms of remote working.

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“I never thought I’d ever really have the opportunity to work from home five days a week, consistently, all the time,” McLachey said.

listen | Learn more about how Alejandra MacLachey made the case for relocating her job to the East Coast:

When the pandemic hit, as difficult as it was at the time, she said she decided to use it as an opportunity to “demonstrate her abilities, if not more, in equal amounts by staying at home from afar.” To be able to produce.”

Moves like McLatchies have raised questions about whether employees should retain a similarly sized paycheck when moving to less expensive areas. For example, tech giants including Google and Facebook have said that workers who want to continue working remotely after the pandemic from areas outside normal commuting distance from the office. can take a pay cut,

Good news for Canada, say economist

Still, other companies, including Shopify and several others in the tech industry, have said they’re adopting remote work, partly as a way to retain workers with in-demand skills, as well as expand the pool of candidates. are also expanding.

This is great news for our country, said Tony Bonan, director of research, data and analytics for the Ottawa-based Labor Market Information Council.

“I think the move to increased levels of flexibility for workers is good for businesses; I think it’s good for workers,” he said.

“In the case of Canada, in particular, I think it’s particularly good for us, because it probably allows people to spread out a little bit more. We have a lot of land here. And a large crowd of people. There’s a big difference between cities versus remote areas that have a lot to offer, but don’t have jobs.”

If your job can be done from one part of the country without sky-high housing costs and long commutes, Bonan said the pay shouldn’t change with your postal code.

“I think that if you are given the flexibility, given the benefit of working remotely anywhere within Canada, there is no reason why your pay should be any different, depending on where you want to live. ,” They said. “If you live in an expensive city or a less expensive area, or a less expensive part of town, for example, this is a personal financial choice.”

Bonan said that instead of withholding current pay, when an employee moves on, causing all kinds of human resource problems and hurting employee morale, a better way to look at pay is to offer a premium to those workers. Maybe those who need to live in our most expensive cities.

competition for workers

Tying up jobs — and therefore pay — “disqualifies 99 percent of the people out there,” said Greg Gunn, co-founder and CEO of Commit, a professional network that connects software engineers who do away with tech startups. work from.

This is a problem, Gunn said, noting that Canadian companies are competing for these workers not only with large US tech firms that have set up offices here, but with small and medium-sized companies outside the country. who are interested in hiring Canadians to work remotely. ,

“There are a lot of arbitrary rules that we created when we were hiring people and in the past were giving them compensation that needed something. But they are no longer relevant in a world where geography and opportunity are completely different are.”

There are a lot of arbitrary rules that we made when we were hiring people and in the past we were giving them compensation that needed something. But they are no longer relevant in a world where geography and opportunity are becoming completely separate.— Greg Gunn, Commit CEO

Gunn, who lives in Vancouver, predicts that software engineering is going to be “the first completely remote career in the whole world because of the merits of the profession”. It includes a long history of thousands of developers collaborating on open-source software.

In fact, many of Gunn’s industry allies have moved northwest from Vancouver to BC’s Sunshine Coast—including commit engineer Alexander Georges.

Georges said he and his girlfriend were able to leave their one-bedroom apartment and buy a house in Gibson, B.C., that would cost three times as much in Vancouver. Their new home is a five-minute walk from the woods and a place for George to brew his beer. With a large kitchen, he said, “we cook a lot, which is great.”

There was never any question about whether he would maintain the same pay scale.

“I mean, in software engineering roles … there’s a lot of demand for companies, lots of startups, starting new projects,” he said. “It certainly brings salaries; it doesn’t really matter where we are, especially with big companies like Amazon, Microsoft, which can pay their engineers quite a bit.”

Bonan said many jobs are location-linked, but it’s not just high-tech workers who are benefiting from remote work. “For many service-sector businesses, this is a move toward flexible work arrangements,” he said.

companies playing catchup

That said, the salary is traditionally Varied between regions in Canada, For example, in a broad category, what Statistics Canada calls the Finance, Insurance, and Business Administration, people earn about $51,000 per year in Saskatchewan and more than $61,000 in BC.

Afifa Siddiqui, CEO of Toronto-based Canadian Payroll Services, said many companies are catching on to the location issue and asking employees to pay as a result of not having policies in place to deal with pay disparity between locations. move during the pandemic.

“I think the first step for companies is to clearly create these policies and communicate them to their employees, so that when someone is making a decision or making a decision like, ‘Am I going to take a pay hit,’ they can really I understand what the pay bands are across their company.”

In the case of Alejandra McLachey, while her pay remained the same after moving out of the Greater Toronto Area, she said that her employer told her they would typically pay $20,000 to $30,000 less for someone doing the same work in the Halifax area. – “I feel extra lucky to have my position.”

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