What is the
Durham Living Wage?

Workers produce goods and services for society and are entitled to a decent standard of life. No family should go hungry or without shelter because wages are not keeping up with the cost of living.

If workers organize to encourage their employers to adopt a living wage for all the employees, both the company and the workers will benefit.

Why a Living Wage Matters to Workers

The minimum wage is a mandatory wage set by each province. However, the current Ontario rated of $15.00 per hour does not properly incorporate important quality of life measures. The minimum wage also does not account for the steep variation in cost of living that often exists between different communities. The cost of utilities, rent and food, for example, can vary widely across the province. As a result, there is often a significant, and deeply problematic gap between the living expenses incurred by Ontario families on the one hand and the minimum wage on the other.

The living wage project aims to close this gap by adjusting for regional differences in critical quality of life measures. While the living wage does not cover costs like debt repayment, RRSPs, or saving to buy a home, it does accommodate for expenses that contribute greatly to quality of life, such as non-OHIP medical insurance and two post-secondary professional development courses each year. In acknowledging and accounting for these important social and human costs, the living wage movement supports community development and well-being, including the economic and productivity needs of local employers.

According to the Ontario Living Wage Network’s calculations, employees in Durham Region must earn a minimum of $17.80 per hour to live decently.

Worker Benefits

  • Acknowledgement of workers’ value
  • Poverty Alleviation
  • Improved Quality of Life
  • Improved Morale
  • Skills Training & Education Opportunities
  • Increased Participation in the Community

A living wage is by no means a luxury income. Many items are missing, such as: child’s post-secondary education, retirement savings, home ownership, up-to-date automobile, debt repayments and other quality of life factors.