By Daniel Caudle
November 8, 2019
The living hourly wage for Perth-Huron residents has been increased to $17.55 following calculations that take into consideration the latest information about living expenses in the region.
The United Way Perth-Huron, in partnership with the Social Research and Planning Council, say the new living wage represents an 11-cent increase from the $17.44 hourly wage that was established in 2018.
Based on a 35-hour work week, the average Perth-Huron resident would need to make roughly $29,500 a year before taxes to survive, according to the new calculations.
Planning council general manager Joelle Lamport-Lewis said too many Huron-Perth residents are being forced to make difficult decisions on how to allocate their limited financial resources.
Both the planning council and the United Way want the new living wage to be at the forefront of any discussions about improving lives in Huron and Perth.
With the current minimum wage of $14 per hour in Ontario, those living in the two counties need to make an additional $3.55 an hour, or $5,964 per year to maintain a lifestyle above the line of poverty, according to the recent calculations.
“The main reason it has increased is because of inflation,” said United Way Perth-Huron executive director Ryan Erb. “We use a number of different calculations such as food, housing and transportation.”
Although the average annual inflation rate hovers around 1.75 per cent, due to the decrease of some calculated costs the Perth-Huron living wage was able to stay below the accepted inflation rate and increased by 0.6 per cent.
Neighbouring counties of Bruce and Grey have a calculated living wage of $18.39, which comes out to an 84-cent per hour higher cost of living.
The living wage is calculated as the hourly rate at which a household can meet its basic needs, once government transfers have been added to the family’s income and deductions have been subtracted. The living wage gets families out of severe financial stress by lifting them out of poverty and providing a basic level of economic security.
In comparison, Perth-Huron is higher than London’s living wage of $16.20 and Hamilton’s living wage of $16.44. But it comes in slightly lower than the living wage of Kingston, which is calculated at $17.57.
“The main reason the living wage is higher is transportation,” said Erb. “London calculates with people assuming people can use the city bus, wherein this region people can use public transportation because there is none, and number two is food cost is a little higher due to the rural nature of the area.”
Once again Toronto topped the list in by a wide margin with the November 2019 living wage recalculated to be $22.08.