TORONTO – In Canada’s most expensive urban area, Ontario’s minimum wage falls far short of what families need for a decent standard of living, says the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
The study, A Living Wage for Toronto, estimates two working parents raising two young children would need to earn $16.60 an hour each, with both parents working full-time and year-round, to be able to live adequately within the Greater Toronto Area.
“There’s a big difference between having enough to survive – and Ontario’s minimum wage doesn’t even do that – and having enough to participate in the life of the community” says study co-author Hugh Mackenzie, CCPA research associate. “The living wage is the income threshold a family has to cross to avoid being marginalized.”
The study takes into account the major costs facing families raising children in the GTA, and estimates how high their wage should be in order to have a decent standard of life.
“We held focus groups with families in the GTA to confirm our estimates reflected the reality of everyday living,” says co-author Jim Stanford, CCPA research associate. “We discovered that while it covers the basics, our living wage number is still quite modest.
“So many GTA families struggle to pay the rent and put food on the table. They’re working hard, making a major contribution to our economy. It’s only fair that the work they do lifts them out of poverty, and allows them to lead a healthy, full life.”
The study is released in advance of this weekend’s Good Jobs Summit, being organized by the Toronto & York Region Labour Council to improve the quality of jobs in Toronto.
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