What does it take for a family of four to live comfortably in Haldimand and Norfolk County? That’s the question we wanted to answer in 2019. Adhering to the principles and methodology of the Canadian Living Wage Framework, we calculated the 2019 hourly Living Wage for Haldimand and Norfolk to be $16.58.

The Living Wage is the hourly wage a worker needs to earn to cover their family’s basic everyday expenses, such as food, housing, utilities, childcare and transportation. The Living Wage was calculated based on a family composition consisting of two 35-year old parents working full-time for 35 hours per week, one 7-year old child who attends school and before and after school care and one 3-year old in childcare full-time year round. Different from the Minimum Wage which is provincially set, the Living Wage is locally derived. The costs used to calculate the Living Wage for Haldimand and Norfolk have come from local sources based on expenses in this community. The Minimum Wage which is currently $14/hour does not take into account the basic needs to maintain a healthy, sustainable life. While the Minimum Wage is adjusted for inflation in Ontario, the Living Wage is adjusted annually to take into consideration cost of living increases, and changes.

A Living Wage means families can make ends meet and don’t have to choose between groceries, medical/dental expenses or rent. It means they can participate in community activities, like putting their kids into sports. What the Living Wage doesn’t include is credit card payments, loan or debt interest, savings for retirement, owning a home, savings for children’s future education, pets, or the cost of caring for loved ones with serious illnesses or disabilities. The Living Wage does not include anything other than the smallest cushion for emergencies or hard times.

“There are a number of benefits to calculating the Living Wage for our community. One of our key focus areas is ‘From Poverty to Possibility’ and we believe knowing how much it costs to survive in our community is an important first step to reducing poverty.”

Brittany Burley, Executive Director

Communities that have already implemented the Living Wage have found it to be beneficial to employers by improving recruitment, employee retention, increased productivity and morale and reduced retraining expenses. For the workers it reduced the need to work multiple jobs to pay bills, reduced stress of financial pressures, provided opportunities for skills training to further employment opportunities, improved nutrition, and raised the standards of living and quality of life. The community benefitted by raising consumer spending locally, increased local participation, and lowered child poverty rates.

Every community experiences different conditions that affect local expenses and that’s why the Living Wage differs by region. For example, Perth and Huron’s Living Wage is $17.55, while Hamilton’s is $16.42. The lack of transportation services across Haldimand and Norfolk and the shortage of affordable housing are two factors affecting local costs. To learn more about the specific local costs, please refer to the infographic above.

We would like to thank Kayla Schaff for her help with this project.

For more information contact: Brittany Burley, Executive Director
United Way of Haldimand and Norfolk
Phone: 519-426-5660 Email: [email protected]