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Monday, November 4, 2019

New Living Wage Estimate $18.39 For Grey Bruce

Grey Bruce | by Claire McCormack  

United Way Executive Director says wages are not keeping up with the cost of living.

The United Way of Bruce Grey says the living wage in the area should be $18.39 an hour. It's $14 an hour in Ontario.

As part of 'Living Wage Week' various organizations have calculated what they believe the wage should be based of the cost of living in a given area.

Local United Way Executive Director Francesca Dobbyn says it's a way to start a conversation about the cost of living in our community, "Wages are not keeping pace with that cost of living."

Dobbyn says the wage is based on Statistics Canada data, and Public Health  data, "It's not based on just how we think things are going, this is actual cost of what it takes to run a household."

Dobbyn says while the rough numbers of how many people actually make a living wage in the area have yet to be compiled, she says the current minimum wage is "nowhere close" to covering the cost of living.

The United Way's calculated living wage is based on a two-income, full time at 35 hours a week, family with a seven year old child who requires before and after-school childcare and a three year old child who requires full-time year round childcare. They family live in a three-bedroom apartment, paying only for electricity.

In the Grey Bruce case, due to the lack of rural transportation, they need two vehicles to keep their jobs.

Neither job provides benefits so they are paying for benefits themselves along with critical illness insurance. One parent is participating in educational upgrading at the local college with a plan to get a better job.

The Ontario Living Wage Network has published a list of wages by community.     

London  $16.20
Thunder Bay $16.21
Chatham-Kent $16.33
Waterloo Region $16.35
Hamilton $16.43     
Sudbury  $16.98     
Guelph Wellington  $17.00
Leeds Grenville Lanark $17.21
Perth and Huron 17.55     
Kingston  $17.57     
Peterborough $17.63     
Niagara Region $18.12
Grey Bruce $18.39
Ottawa     $18.42     
Halton     $20.38     
Toronto $22.08

Dobbyn notes Grey Bruce is so high on the list because it lacks a regional transportation system and the wage accounts for the family having two vehicles as a result of that.

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