A Toronto-based non-profit organization is compensating prospective employees by paying them for their time during interviews.

FoodShare Toronto’s new policy, which took effect March 1, pays interviewees a fixed rate of $75, regardless of the position. In addition, if an interview requires the candidate to complete an assignment or prepare a presentation, they’re also compensated for that work, based on the rate of pay for the position to which they’re applying.

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“We’ve been really focused on not just the work we do in the community, but also the way we work together with our colleagues,” says Paul Taylor, executive director of FoodShare Toronto. “Members of our team as well as myself wanted to explore [the idea of paying interviewees for their time], so ultimately, I asked our [human resources] team to draft a policy that has gone to our board of directors and then passed unanimously. . . . This policy applies to every role in the organization, whether you’re packing produce in our warehouse, delivering produce or applying to be the executive director.”

In keeping with those values, the organization pays a minimum wage of $24 per hour, well above the provincial rate of $15 and slightly higher than the current livable wage — $22.08 — for Toronto-based employees. FoodShare’s top earners are also paid no more than three times the lowest earners. And the organization offers employees emergency loans — to a maximum of $2,000 — that are paid back at a rate determined by the employer and employee.

In addition to compensation, FoodShare employees start at four weeks of vacation and are entitled to 30 paid days of leave per year, including 10 personal days and 20 wellness days. “We want employees to prioritize wellness and the things that bring them joy, whether that’s a day of gaming, a long walk in the park or watching Netflix all day,” says Taylor. “When we think about our colleagues, they’re people, not just workers.”

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