Living Wage

What is a living wage?
A living wage is “the hourly rate at which a household can meet its basic needs, once government transfers have been added to the family’s income (such as the Universal Child Care Benefit) and deductions have been subtracted (such as income taxes and Employment Insurance premiums.”*

What is the living wage for Wellington County?
The Guelph & Wellington Task Force of Poverty Elimination calculated the living wage for adults in 3 different household types: a family of 4 (two adults, two children), a family of 2 (one child), and a single person.

The average hourly wage required to have adequate housing, healthy food, basic transportation, telephone, school fees, personal care, clothing and footwear, etc., is $15.95 per hour, with each adult working 37.5 hours a week.

  • For the family of 4, the living wage was calculated to be $15.75/hour, with both adults working 37.5 hours per week.
  • For the family of 2, the living wage was calculated to be $17.50/hour, with the adult working 37.5 hours per week.
  • For the single person, the living wage was calculated to be $14.60, with the person working 37.5 hours per week.

How does this compare with other wage levels?
According to the Task Force:

  • Ontario’s minimum wage is $10.25 per hour. The difference between the minimum wage and a living wage is about $9,300 per year for a single person.
  • Welfare (social assistance) payments for a single person is about $21,700 less than what that person would earn with a living wage.
  • Ontario Disability Support Program payments are about $9,800 less than the living wage.

(For more on the minimum wage, click here.)

For full details on how the living wage was calculated, read the Task Force’s report: click here.

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*Ivanova & Klein (2103). “Working for a living wage: 2013 update.” Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Can be found here.