A new study shows that working parents with two children need to each earn a minimum of $18.52 an hour just to cover the bare minimum of expenses.
The report – by CCPA-Ontario Economist Kaylie Tiessen – calculates the living wage in Toronto by drawing on a national living wage methodological framework.
This figure doesn’t seem high to most, especially when you take into account how expensive pretty much everything is in this city.
“When you take into account what it actually costs to rent an apartment, pay hydro, own a vehicle, pay for a TTC pass, buy groceries, and pay for child care, it means two working parents need to bring in a total of $72,242 a year in order to make ends meet for their family of four,” says Tiessen.
The study marks an update from CCPA’s 2008 calculation, which placed Toronto’s living wage at $16.60 an hour to meet the hourly sum needed to meet local living expenses. The new 2015 living wage serves as a published guide to employers who have committed to pay their workers a living wage.
A living wage is what’s actually required to live a healthy, sustainable life. And no, it doesn’t include things that most of us take for granted, like vacations, dining out a couple of times a week, and buying the latest iPhone.
But the struggle is real for some fellow Torontonians.
According to the left-leaning Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, steep increases in the price of basic necessities in the city have made it more difficult for working adults to support their families.
The report, then, offers a “modest standard” that reflects the reality of everyday living in the city.
So, basically, Ontario’s current $11 minimum wage – which is set to increase to $11.25 come October – is still inefficient.
“There are 70,000 working poor in the City of Toronto – 113,000 in the overall region. A living wage would be a real game-changer for those workers.”
There’s a silver lining, however.
“Toronto is joining an international movement: already, employers in Ontario, Canada, and around the world are adopting living wage policies,” says CCPA-Ontario Director Trish Hennessy.
If you’re a business owner, you may want to think about adopting a living wage policy for your employees.
In the end, it’s for everyone’s best interest.