This is Living Wage Week – but minimum wages lag behind

 frank  8 November, 2023

The 6th of November marked the start of living wage week with the release of a report on living wages for 2023. The living wage movement sheds light on the extent to which workers are falling behind, and the ineffectiveness of minimum wage hikes, which do little to address the affordability crisis in the country.

The report uncovers that the living wage rate for the Greater Toronto Area is $25.05, $18.65 in the Southwest Region (Windsor), with Ottawa experiencing the largest increase, from $19.60 to $21.95. It goes without saying that many workers are trailing behind sustenance wages (link to CP24).

Consider that that the minimum wage in Ontario increased on October 1 of this year to $16.55, but, there is still no place in the province where someone could make ends meet working full-time at this wage. The same is true for other provinces, too.

The primary objective of the Living Wage movement is the eradication of working poverty. Rates are calculated in relation to the region someone lives in, and factors in expenses related to more than just surviving. Through the determination of local living wage rates and the promotion of employer compliance, the Living Wage movement have established a straightforward and efficient method to raise wages for workers in numerous sectors.

Unions also play a role in setting wage standards and often advocate for minimum wage increases at the local, provincial, or federal levels. Collective bargaining is key in establishing wage standards, and in some cases, collective agreements tie wage increases to inflation or the cost of living, giving wage stability. Non-unionized workers also benefit from collective bargaining as wage rates that are set in collective agreements influence non-union workplaces.

Whichever method is used to achieve wage stability and sustenance wages, it is clear that workers’ wages are lagging behind inflation and cost of living with many coming dangerously close to becoming the working poor.

Although most of the numbers shown here are from Ontario (the most current), most other provinces and territories exhibit similar disparities between the minimum wage and a living wage.

For more information, you can visit the Ontario Living Wage Network

Or for a cross Canada look, you can visit

Living Wages In BC and Canada