New data show $19.05 is the living wage for our region

A family of four with both parents working must earn this wage to pay bills, avoid poverty

By Roderick Benns

A living wage reflects the true cost of living, whereas a minimum wage is legislated and is the same across Ontario. 

New figures just released from the Ontario Living Wage Network show that a family of four in this region, with both parents working full-time, would each have to earn $19.05 per hour to cover basic expenses in 2022.

That is the minimum they must earn to be able to pay their bills and avoid living in poverty. 

“This year’s living wage calculations emerge from a backdrop of record–breaking inflation and Consumer Price Index increases, and workers at the bottom end of the wage scale are most vulnerable to these kinds of fluctuations,” says a media release.

“A living wage is an effective tool to combat working poverty by making sure that employees can make ends meet where they live. By incorporating expenses that a worker must cover, such as shelter, food, transportation and more, our living wages are much closer to reality than a politically set minimum wage.”

Living wages are different from minimum wages. A living wage reflects the true cost of living, whereas a minimum wage is legislated and is the same across Ontario. 

The Ontario Living Wage Network calculates the living wage using local data collected by the Health Unit, including the cost of food, housing (including rent, utilities and tenant insurance), phone, internet, transportation, child care, continuing education (one college course per year per adult), and medical/life insurance.

The Living Wage Network uses a standardized spreadsheet to calculate each community’s living wage, while also accounting for government transfers such as child tax benefits, child care subsidy, and government deductions and taxes. The living wage calculation also factors in a set amount across Ontario for clothing, footwear and contingencies. 

How it’s calculated

The living wage regions build from Statistics Canada’s geographic concept of economic regions, according to a release from the Ontario Living Wage Network. (Economic regions are geographic units defined by Statistics Canada to represent regional economies.) Kawartha Lakes is in the Eastern region.

The living wage is the hourly earnings someone needs to earn to have an income that covers their cost of living.

“To calculate this number, we start by determining the costs of a basket of basic goods and services for three types of families: two parents aged 35 and two children aged 7 and 3, a single parent (35) with a child aged 7, and a single adult. To calculate the living wage, we determine the after-tax income that each adult would need to have to cover the expenses included in the basket for their family type. For the wage calculation, we consider government transfers the family may receive (like the Canada Child Benefit, the Ontario CARE benefit) and the payroll and income taxes the adults may pay.

We calculate a wage for each of the three families, and then take a weighted average of these wages based on the proportion of adults in Ontario in each type of family using data from the 2016 census.”

1 Comment

  1. Wallace says:

    If the Feds and Provincial government would stop giving our tax dollars to other countries, and corporations, a guaranteed income of 20bucks and hour would be peanuts to pay out to low income Canadians.

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