November 7, 2013

What's in a Living Wage

There is a growing living wage movement across Ontario and across Canada.

But what is in a living wage?

A living wage has been defined as "the hourly wage needed for a family to meet everyday expenses."
Here is a definition from Vibrant Calgary's Living Wage Leaders program:
"A Living Wage is the amount of income an individual or family needs to:
  • Meet their basic needs: housing, transportation, adequate, nutritious food
  • Maintain a safe, decent, dignified standard of living
  • Save for future needs and goals
  • Devote quality time to family, friends and community"
Calculating a living wage starts with a conversation about what goes into a decent standard of living. So here is a list of some items to consider for a living wage. 

  • Housing - rent
  • Utilities - heat, electricity, water
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Phone
  • Transportation - car, bus tickets, taxi
  • Education - continuing education for adults, school fees for children
  • Child care
  • Health care - pharmacy and dental care
  • Recreation - theatre, concert or sporting events, for example
  • Fitness
  • Saving for retirement
  • Annual vacation
  • Mortgage and other debt payments

Which ones would you include in a list of what it takes to have a decent standard of living? What would you add?

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