Study suggests minimum wage earners can’t ‘thrive’ in Toronto
What does it cost to live a healthy life? That question is the basis for a study released by the Wellesley Institute, a Toronto-based non-profit research and policy think tank.
To begin to answer that, one would need to understand how the researchers define the term “thriving.”
“A standard of living that goes beyond survival or scraping by,” one of the study’s researchers Nishi Kumar said, adding.
“When I think about thriving in the way it’s reflected in this report, is that it’s about achieving good health and that goes beyond physical health to take into account mental health and social wellbeing.”
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The study, “Thriving in the City: What does it cost to live a health life?” suggests people in the Greater Toronto Area need more than double what they earn on minimum wage in order to thrive.
The cost associated with thriving that the researchers came up with is somewhere between $46,186 and $55,432 after tax for a single person age 25-40 to live the good life.
That is well above the income level for a current Ontario minimum wage worker, which amounts to about $20,000 after taxes. Even a future minimum wage worker earning $15 per hour would still fall short.
“Folks who are living on the minimum wage in Toronto with our current social safety net I think necessarily they would need to be making some trade offs that may affect their health,” Kumar said.
The study suggests individuals, employers and governments need to work together to close the gap between what GTA residents are earning and what it needed for them to thrive in society.
For people living in the GTA, how they are going to progress in their careers is top of mind so the researcher suggests work-related support would go a long way.
“Folks said, ‘In order to thrive I need access to training, I need access to networking opportunities, I need to be able to move up the career ladder,” Kumar said.
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