We all know that living in Toronto is expensive. But it turns out, the 6ix is far from the only city in the province where the hourly salary needed to live a decent life is well above minimum wage. Ontario's living wage varies dramatically from region to region, but it's considerably higher than $14 per hour anywhere.

A living wage is different from the minimum wage, and a large portion of Ontarians are working for less than what is deemed a liveable income.

According to Ontario’s Living Wage Network (OLWN), "the living wage reflects what people need to earn to cover the actual costs of living in their community."

That includes, per the OLWN, food, clothing, shelter, transport costs, childcare if needed, medical expenses, and recreation. It doesn't take into account things like savings, debt, or homeownership. 

By contrast, the minimum wage is merely the amount that all employers must pay by law.

And, as the OLWN shows with its list of living wages around the province, the difference is often huge.

The current municipalities where the living wages are lowest and most easily achieved include Muskoka at $15.84 per hour, Sault Ste. Marie at $16.16 per hour, and Thunder Bay at $16.21 per hour.

Even those, though, are far above the current provincial minimum hourly wage of $14. Even further if you take the student mark of $13.15.

You likely won't be at all surprised to hear that Toronto leads Ontario at an eye-watering $22.18 per hour.

The other cities and regions that have the highest and hardest-to-secure living wages include Halton Region, which encompasses cities like Oakville and Burlington, at $20.38 per hour, and Haliburton in cottage country, at $19.42.

In short, every municipality listed by OLWN requires citizens to make at least $1.80 more than minimum wage if they are to live a "basic" life.

If you want any more than basic, it gets a lot worse.

Just last month, it was found that in order to be considered middle class in Toronto, you have to make $135,000 a year.

The OLWN is an organization that describes itself as “a network of employers, employees, non-profits, researchers, and proponents of decent work standards for all Ontario workers.”

It is worth noting that some regions of Ontario are missing from the OLWN data, including the Peterborough, York, and Peel regions.

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