By freezing Ontario’s minimum wage rate at $14 an hour, the province has pushed the minimum wage even further below a living wage, says the Ontario Living Wage Network.
In celebration of international Living Wage Week, the Ontario Living Wage Network updated nine local living wage rates and calculated six new rates, ranging from $16.50 in Guelph to $21.75 in Toronto, which is the highest living wage calculation in Ontario.
“With every living wage calculation we see that the minimum wage falls far short of what working families need to pay for the basics,” says Tom Cooper, Ontario Living Wage Network co-chair. “By freezing the minimum wage at $14, families will find it harder to pay the rent, afford child care, buy nutritious food for their family, and pay for transportation to get to work.”
The living wage methodology is based on basic local expenses for a family of four with two children. The Ontario Living Wage Network has released a series of new or updated reports for 15 communities, posted on www.ontariolivingwage.ca. Among the highlights:
For a family of four, two parents working full-time would need to be paid $21.75 an hour each to earn a living wage in Toronto. That’s up by 14.9 per cent from $18.52 in 2015.
Haliburton County weighs in with the second-highest living wage calculation at $19.42.
For the first time, the network has released Ottawa’s living wage calculation. It ranks as the fourth highest living wage calculation in the province at $18.21.
Kingston registered the largest living wage calculation increase outside of Toronto, going from $16.58 in 2016 to $17.29 today—a 4.1 per cent increase.
The Ontario Living Wage Network has certified 182 living wage employers. The City of Cambridge is the only municipal living wage employer in Ontario, but the network is hopeful that other communities might soon follow. In the recent municipal election, 262 municipal candidates from across Ontario pledged to support a living wage and 44 of those candidates are now elected.
“A living wage lifts people out of poverty and is good for our economy,” says Burlington’s mayor-elect, Marianne Meed Ward. “It allows our residents to more fully participate in our community. That’s why I support it.”