Bruce Grey living wage calculated at $20.70 per hour

Bruce Gray’s living wage rose 12.5 per cent this year to $20.70 an hour. That’s how much a worker would need to earn to live on a 40-hour week.

This includes costs such as transport, childcare, food, internet access, modest annual leave and clothing. Any applicable government taxes, transfers and benefits are also taken into account. It does not include any savings, home ownership costs, pets or debt.

For Bruce Grey, 3 demographics are used to generate Bruce Grey’s normalized living wage:

· Singles: $19.12

· Single parent with 2 children: $24.74

· 2 parents, 2 children: $21.05 for both parents

Bruce Gray Poverty Task Force Coordinator Jill Umbach noted that demand for food banks has increased since the start of the pandemic and continues to increase. She said emergency support was important, but not the answer.

“They’re not going to change that family’s situation, or that person’s situation, unless that person doesn’t have a safe and affordable place to live and enough income to cover everything,” she explained.

“The Poverty Task Force’s question is really around why these people aren’t making enough money. We need employers to recognise that at this point the cost of living has gone up and inflation is taking its toll, so that needs to change,” she added.

Umbach advocated for guaranteed income support for those without a living wage.

“We’ve seen a lot of single people who can’t keep their homes. In particular, we’ve seen a lot of seniors who can afford rent as a couple, but one of them has passed away and it’s challenging to be single,” she says.

She added that recent research has found that about one in six people in Ontario live in a food-insecure household, and about one in five Canadian children live in a food-insecure household.

She said a living wage was a good retention strategy in the face of severe labour shortages.

“We fully understand that it’s difficult for small businesses to pay a living wage. But we also know that you’re likely to have better employee retention and productivity if you pay. If your employees feel like they’re being cared for , then they are likely to stay with you and be more loyal,” she continued.

“The most important driver of growth is the cost of housing for people. The United Way did this calculation over the summer, using data that preceded recent food and other consumer cost inflation issues,” said Bruce Gray, United Way Executive Director Francesca Dobby explained. “That’s the bottom line, it’s a living wage just barely on the budget.”

“A job should lift employees out of poverty,” Dobin explained further. “As we’ve seen a significant increase in housing costs locally, people are working but increasingly falling into poverty.” While no one should live below the poverty line, there is an understanding and expectation that employment should enable that person and His family was lifted out of poverty.

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