City’s livable wage has risen by 4.3%, says London Poverty Research Centre

The London Poverty Research Centre says the current livable wage in the city is $16.20 an hour. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Bayne Stanley

Families in London need more money to get by than they did three years ago, according to the London Poverty Research Centre.

The centre says the city’s livable wage is now $16.20 an hour, a 4.3 per cent increase from when it was last tallied in 2016. That number is also $2 more than the current minimum wage in Ontario.

A ​living wage reflects what workers need to be paid in order to meet the basic standards of social and economic inclusion based on the cost of living in London. It is not the same as the legislated minimum wage.

The calculation is based on the expenses of a household of four in London that includes two adults working full time and two children. The livable wage is the amount that a household would need to meet the minimum requirement of economic security.

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The London Poverty Research Centre’s livable wage uses local data, including the cost of food, housing (rent, utilities and insurance), phone, internet, transportation, child care, continuing education and life insurance.

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“It’s something to work from and to begin the conversation around: what is a wage that will allow families to flourish in the city of London?” said Michael Courey, co-ordinator of the London Poverty Research Centre.

“We just want to bring awareness and knowledge around what does it take for people and young families to be doing well in our city.”

Courey says the livable wage is a voluntary commitment that employers can make to compensate workers.

Compared to other cities, he says London is on the more affordable side, noting that the livable wage in Toronto is more than $20 an hour.

“We believe it’s a good point of reference for employees to gauge how companies think they should be paying their employees,” said Courey.

“The living wage is an important figure that we continue to work on each year. We just hope it invigorates some positive conversation in the community, insuring London can maintain and even become a more inclusive city in the future.”

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The Ontario Living Wage Network has certified 252 employers in Ontario, including 15 in London, through its living wage employer program, which aims to raise the wages of low-income workers across the province. Certified local companies include rTraction Canada Inc., Mission Services of London, London Bicycle Cafe and United Way of Elgin Middlesex.

Courey says employers benefit from the program, often seeing an increase in productivity, less staff turnover and less hiring and training courses.

He says workers are able to contribute more to local economic growth and benefit by building more wealth in the community.

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