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Ontario's Living Wages Reveal How Much You Need To Afford A Basic Life In These Regions

Minimum wage went up in October, but it looks like another raise is needed ASAP. 👀

Toronto Associate Editor
Ontario's Living Wages Reveal How Much You Need To Afford A Basic Life In These Regions

It's no secret that living in Toronto is super expensive, but compared to other cities in Ontario, it's not the only one.

It's been a couple of years since some of Ontario's living wages were recalculated, and while the numbers have been updated to reflect how much you need to make in order to live where you do, they're all still way higher than the province's minimum wage.

"Our 2021 calculations now take into account a weighted average between a family of four, single parent with one child and a single adult," Anne Coleman, the program manager at Ontario Living Wage Network (OLWN), wrote in the November 1 announcement. "These 2021 living wage rates reflect changing demographics in our province and increases in inflation. We believe they accurately reflect the realities of costs in Ontario."

According to OLWN, a living wage is how much you need to make in order to cover the actual costs of living in your community, including food, clothes, shelter, transportation, child care, medical care, recreation and a "modest" vacation. It doesn't include paying off debts, homeownership, saving for your kids' education or any other savings outside of an emergency fund.

Since October 1, Ontario's minimum wage has been $14.35/hour, but in all 23 regions calculated by OLWN, that simply doesn't cut it. The regions that have the smallest gap between their living wage and the province's minimum wage are Sault Ste. Marie at $16.20/hour, Thunder Bay at $16.30/hour, and London at $16.55/hour.

Toronto has the highest living wage rate in the province at a whopping $22.08/hour, which is actually ten cents less than its last calculation. It comes out to a $7.73 difference from how much minimum wage workers are currently making, which could be part of the reason why Toronto is one of the least affordable cities in North America.

The other areas with the highest living wages are Halton Region (which includes Burlington and Oakville) at $20.75/hour and the newest addition to the list, Peel Region (which includes Mississauga and Brampton) at $19.80/hour.

The new average living wage among these 23 regions amounts to $18.17, which is still $3.82 more than Ontario's minimum wage.

It should be noted that not all regions in Ontario have been included in the updated list; Chatham-Kent, Grey Bruce, Kawartha Lakes, and St. Thomas Elgin didn't make the updates at this time.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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