What is the
Durham Living Wage?

The Living Wage in Durham is part of a greater movement across Canada which calculates what it takes for a family or an individual to earn a decent living. In 2016, CDCD conducted its first Living Wage study and the annual calculation used a family of four as a reference family. We conducted community consultations and followed the structures set out by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives to do the calculation. As federal and provincial governments introduced new polices to support families with children, and high inflation in food prices and cost of housing were observed, previous reference of a family of four is no longer the only reference for Living Wage calculations in Ontario. In 2021, Ontario Living Wage Network moved to a weighted average family model that uses a family of four, a single parent with one child, and a single adult.

What is a Living Wage?

A living wage is what workers need to earn in order to have a decent quality of life. It emerged from the realization that the minimum wage does not cover the cost of a decent life and it does not increase frequently to adjust to inflation. In addition to food, clothing and shelter, cost of health insurance and other costs of health treatment not covered by insurance, quality of life measures are also sensitive to the type of social inclusion and community participation (i.e., recreation, family outings and one modest vacation per year) required to live a truly human life.

In 2021, the Living Wage calculation used a weighted average of three different reference households for calculating living wage for each household type:

Reference Household 1
A family of four with two adults age 35, a 7-year old boy and a 3-year old girl

Reference Household 2
A single parent family of two with one 35-year-old female and a 7-year old boy

Reference Household 3
A single male adult age 35

The calculation assumes all adults are working 35 hours a week for the full year. The children’s ages are selected to reflect the costs of having one child in full-time daycare and one in school during the school year and summer camp. These assumptions help to calculate a living wage that can support the family through their life cycle as their children grow up.

Durham Region’s 2021 living wage is $17.80/hour.

Ontario’s minimum wage will be increased to $15.50/hour in October, 2022

Durham Living Wage Reports

Community Development Council Durham has been member of Living Wage Network of Ontario since 2016. Please access the following links to download the reports.


CDCD would like to acknowledge the continuous support received from the Ontario Living Wage Network in conducting this project.


Funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation with guidance from the following organizations:

  • University of Ontario Institute of Technology
  • The YMCA of Greater Toronto
  • Clarington Board of Trade
  • Durham Region Labour Council
  • United Way Durham
  • Durham Workforce Authority
  • North Durham Social Planning Council
  • Nourish and Develop Foundation
  • Health Department, Region of Durham

Why pay a living wage?

Adopting a living wage by businesses can lead to increased business efficiencies and contribute to regional economic resiliency. Read more about how you can become a Durham Living Wage Employer.

Let Us Put You on the Map!

Become a Durham Living Wage Employer and have your business profile created and listed on the Durham Living Wage Map.

Click here for more information.