The Ontario Living Wage Network has updated all living wage rates for the province. In Kingston, the living wage rate has increased 7.3 per cent from the last report in November 2021.
“This year’s living wage calculations emerge from a backdrop of record–breaking inflation and Consumer Price Index increases, and workers at the bottom end of the wage scale are most vulnerable to these kinds of fluctuations,” the Ontario Living Wage Network (OLWN) said in their report. “A living wage is an effective tool to combat working poverty by making sure that employees can make ends meet where they live. By incorporating expenses that a worker must cover, such as shelter, food, transportation and more, our living wages are much closer to reality than a politically set minimum wage.”
According to the Ontario Living Wage Network, the living wage is the hourly earnings someone needs to earn to have an income that covers their cost of living. The organization has changed their methodology and now use a regional system, allowing them to provide more updates more often.
“Until 2022, we used a mix of municipal, county, and regional boundaries to define each distinct living wage area, of which there a total of 51 in the province,” OLWN said. “Our coverage under this method culminated at 28 local living wage rates in 2021, representing 55 per cent coverage under that boundary system. Going forward, we will now perform calculations for 10 regions in Ontario. Instead of using the old boundaries, we now employ Statistics Canada’s Economic Regions.”
In 2021, Kingston’s living wage rate was reported at $17.75, and this month’s report states $19.05 is what area residents require to “get by” in the current economic climate of 2022.
How our neighbouring communities stack up, as reported by the Ontario Living Wage Network:
- Hastings and Prince Edward — 2021: $17.95; 2022: $19.05 – increase of 6.1 per cent
- Leeds, Grenville and Lanark — 2021: $18.25; 2022: $19.05 – increase of 4.4 per cent
“Previous years have seen us add new living wage calculations to our map, but there was always gaps in our coverage. If we continued on with the old boundary system, we would have needed to keep an unwieldy 51 local living wage rates updated every year,” the organization stated.
There are now over 500 certified living wage employers in Ontario, with roughly half of them first certifying since the start of the COVID-19 crisis in March of 2020, according to OLWN. Of those 500 living wage employers, 17 are in Kingston. “We look forward to certifying many more organizations, large and small, and in new parts of the province,” the network noted.
For the full report, including details on how costs, benefits, and supports are considered in the Ontario Living Wage Network’s calculations, click here.