Living Wage in Toronto is $16.60 Per Hour, Study Finds

November 21, 2008, 4:09 PM EST


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A new study has found that a couple living in the City of Toronto and raising two children need an after-tax disposable income of $16.60 per hour each in order to earn a living wage.

The study entitled "A Living Wage for Toronto" was released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and co-authored by Hugh Mackenzie and CAW Economist Jim Stanford. It highlights the growing number of Ontarians working for less than $10 per hour and argues that minimum wage policies are not enough for workers to attain a decent standard of living. 

"For families with children, a $10 per hour job (even in a full-time, year-round position) is a recipe for continuing poverty - let alone for those workers who cannot find full-time, full year employment," the authors state.

More than 17% of Ontarians - or 1 in every 6 - earns an hourly wage that is less than $10. In fact, the study shows that Ontario is the only province in Canada where the proportion of jobs paying $10 or less increased in the past decade.

The report defines the concept of a living wage as one that allows workers not just to survive (in minimal physiological terms) but to enjoy a decent standard of living and participate fully in social life.

"We define the living wage for Toronto as $16.60 per hour (because) that is the wage level required for a family with two children, and two parents employed full-time and year-round, to meet a basic standard of living that allows for good health, education and entertainment opportunities, and full participation in modern life," the authors' state.

The authors consider living wages an important component in the broader struggle to reduce poverty in Ontario - a problem that is costing the province $38 billion annually according to a study released by the Ontario Association of Food Banks.

The Ontario government has committed to establish a provincial poverty reduction strategy, the details of which have yet to be released. Ontario is also set to increase the provincial minimum wage from $8.25 to $10.25 per hour in 2010.

For a full copy of "A Living Wage for Toronto" visit:  http://www.policyalternatives.ca/reports/2008/11/reportsstudies2010/?pa=BB736455

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