Average Hamiltonian needs to earn $16.45 an hour to meet basic needs

 

Hamiltonians need to be making $16.45 an hour to be meeting living wage requirements, according to new calculations released by the Ontario Living Wage Network Monday (Nov. 4).

The figure is calculated taking into account the average cost of living which factors in the average annual costs for childcare, transportation, housing, clothing, food, hydro, and non-OHIP covered medical costs, among others.

The living wage is calculated based on the needs of a family of four with two parents each working full-time, full-year.

Hamilton’s living wage has risen approximately 3.66 per cent since it was last calculated in 2018 when it was $15.85.

These calculations don’t make an allotment for savings or paying down debt or homeownership. It also doesn’t take saving for a child’s education into account or anything other than a ‘small cushion’ for emergencies or hard times.

The current legislated minimum wage in Ontario is $14 an hour.

The Ontario Living Wage Network says that with the financial pressures of working jobs that pay less than the living wage comes a host of other problems, most notably deeper debt, anxiety and long-term health issues.

Hamilton had the fifth-lowest living wage of those calculated, with London having the lowest at $16.20. Toronto and Halton region are the two highest with living wages at $22.08 and $20.38 respectively.

The Ontario Living Wage Network is a network of employers, employees, non-profits, researchers, and proponents of decent work standards for all Ontario workers.

There are currently 22 Hamilton businesses and organizations listed on the Network’s website as being a ‘Living Wage Employer.’ Among them are the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, Cake + Loaf Bakery, Hello Cannabis, The Mustard Seed and others.

Charts courtesy Ontario Living Wage Network

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