By Mike Renzella
The Haldimand Press
HALDIMAND—The United Way has released its first report on the living wage in Haldimand.
According to the report, the Living Wage is the “hourly wage a worker needs to earn to cover their family’s basic everyday expenses, such as food, housing, utilities, childcare, and transportation.” The report was based on a family unit consisting of two 35-year-old parents working full time for a minimum of 35 hours a week as well as one child attending regular school plus before-and-after daycare, with a second child in childcare full-time. In order for this theoretical family to stay above water in 2019, both parents must be earning at least $16.58 an hour.
“We used the framework provided by the Ontario Living Wage Network and their methodology to collect the local data required,” said Brittany Burley, Executive Director of United Way of Haldimand and Norfolk. “Once we collected all the data, we submitted the information to the Living Wage Network for their review and the final calculations.”
The key difference between the living wage and minimum wage is that minimum wage is set provincially, whereas the living wage is set on a local basis and factors in issues that are unique to each regional setting. Currently, minimum wage in Ontario is set at $14/hour, but this does not take into consideration the basic amount needed to live a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.
Listed in the report are the various factors, broken down into monthly installments. They include: $1,176 for housing and related costs such as utilities and insurance, $1,213 for childcare and school fees, $1,080 for transportation and costs related to maintaining two used vehicles, $303 for clothing and footwear, $290 for medical expenses and insurance, $696 for food, $845 for recreation and leisure, and $224 as a contingency for any unexpected expenses that may come up.