Hourly wages needed to live in Ontario have increased amid decades-high inflation and remain well above the province’s minimum wage, according to a new report.
In the report released Monday, the Ontario Living Wage Network said the living wage in Toronto is now $23.15 an hour, up almost five per cent from $22.08 a year earlier.
The report said the largest increase was in Sault Ste. Marie, where the living wage went up by 21.6 per cent since last year.
Minimum wage in Ontario is $15.50 an hour.
The organization’s living wage calculation uses the basic costs of living, such as housing, food, clothing and transportation, as well as factors like government benefits, to determine how much a worker needs to make hourly in order to live in their region.
Canada’s annual inflation rate was 6.9 per cent in September, but the cost of groceries continues to climb. It has been steadily declining since reaching its highest rate this year of 8.1 per cent in June. Statistics Canada is expected to release October’s data on Wednesday.
“This year’s living wage calculations emerge from a backdrop of record–breaking inflation,” the report said.
The living wage calculations are updated annually and released in November.
According to the organization, this year for the first time their living wage calculations cover the entire province of Ontario, offering living wages for 10 economic regions defined by Statistics Canada.
Toronto’s living wage is the highest of all the regions, most of which have a living wage between $19 and $20.
Food is one of the highest costs in the calculator, the organization said, and it’s gone up significantly this year with inflation.
“The rise in food prices across our province have added significantly to the increase in living wage rates for all communities,” the report said.
There are now more than 500 employers that are certified with the Living Wage Network, meaning they agree to pay their employees the regional living wage calculated by the organization.
The Living Wage Network said more than half of those companies signed up since the pandemic began.