A Real Wage to Live On

A ‘living wage’ in the City of Kawartha Lakes for a family of four is estimated to be $4 higher than Ontario’s current minimum wage.

Local health officials say the gap is “worrisome” at a time when well-paying, full-time jobs continue to decline, and part-time employment can be unstable and unpredictable.

New calculations from the Ontario Living Wage Network (www.ontariolivingwage.ca) show a family of four in Kawartha Lakes – with both parents working full-time – would each have to earn a living wage of $18.42 per hour in order to cover basic expenses in 2018. That is more than $4 per hour higher than Ontario’s current minimum wage of $14 per hour.

“The living wage is what a family of four – two parents and two children – needs to earn in 2018 to pay its bills and avoid living in poverty,” says Mary Lou Mills, a Social Determinants of Health Nurse with the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit. “It is worrisome that the living wage in Kawartha Lakes is higher than what someone would currently earn in a minimum-wage job.”

  While disappointed that government income-support solutions are being cancelled, Mills says businesses and employers can still be proactive by paying their staff a living wage. “Many employers in Ontario do this and reap the rewards,” she notes. “Generally, businesses that pay a living wage see an increase in productivity, experience less staff turnover and save on hiring and training costs.”

Along with a living wage, Mills says affordable housing, child care and transportation are also essential for people to be able to meet their basic needs and avoid having to live in poverty.

Local NewsDeb Crossen