Each year the Ontario Living Wage Network (OLWN) calculates an updated living wage rate for areas throughout the province. With affordability becoming an increasingly urgent issue in our community, the living wage rate has increased once again from $19.80 to $20.35, a 2.8% increase. The work of the Ontario Living Wage Network centres on one core goal: the elimination of working poverty.
The rising cost of living impacts those at the bottom of the wage spectrum the most. That’s why employers look to the living wage rates; it is a calculation that considers the real burdens that workers face much better than the minimum wage. A living wage takes into consideration basic factors like the cost of housing, food and transportation, however it also includes a multitude of others such child related costs, recreation, technology and many others. The living wage varies across the province due the cost of living in different regions. There are 10 living wage calculations across Ontario. Niagara is grouped with regions Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk in this calculation.
“As cost of living continues to increase across Canada, Ontario’s recent efforts to raise the minimum wage falls short of what is needed for individuals and families to live a sustainable life,” says Aima Khan, Living Wage Program Coordinator, United Way Niagara. “The living wage is not perfect but it is one step closer to supporting our working people who are struggling to make ends meet. The living wage is a tool that benefits employees and employers, evidence of this mutual benefit was echoed from surveying 88 Certified Living Wage Employers and their employees in Niagara. Respondents noted that the program has positively impacted workplace culture and staff relationships. Currently the living wage program is one of the most effective ways to reducing poverty for working people in Niagara.”
“Paying a living wage must be an integral part of responding to the affordability crisis that workers are facing in Ontario. There are 628 certified employers who recognize that their employees are integral to the success of their organization. Paying poverty wages is corrosive not only to the individual worker and their families, but to workplace health and productivity as well” says Craig Pickthorne, Communications Coordinator for the Ontario Living Wage Network.
United Way Niagara is committed to promoting the Ontario Living Wage Network’s provincial living wage employer certification program. Employers can use the living wage rate as a base, and know that they are working towards reducing poverty. To learn more about the certification process, contact Aima Khan at email@example.com.
For more information about the Ontario Living Wage Report visit https://www.ontariolivingwage.ca/documentation