Officials with the London Living Wage Project say in order to support a family of four, Londoners should be making at least $15.53 an hour. That works out to an estimated $30,284 annually.
During a news conference Friday morning, the group said that was the amount needed to provide food, clothing, housing, transportation, child care and other basic living expenses for a family of two adults working full-time and two children aged seven and four.
Officials say the living wage is different from the minimum wage in that the former is a reflection of the current costs of living in a particular community. Reaching the living wage standard, they say, helps families achieve a basic level of economic security while minimizing severe financial stress.
According to the research done by Living Wage London, a family of four has estimated monthly costs including $1,374 for a three-bedroom with utilities, insurance, internet, phone and household supplies factored in. They also would spend an estimated $651 on food, $156 on clothing and footware and $1,398 on one vehicle, a bus pass and 10 child bus tickets.
Living Wage London says some factors can lead to variations in the calculation like medical benefits provided by employers. In London’s case, that type of benefit package would drop the living wage down to $14.57 an hour or $28,412 in annual income.
The London Poverty Research Centre based out of King’s University College at Western made the calculations based on local data.
“Living Wage is one strategy in reducing poverty and increasing positive outcomes. Being a recognized Living Wage Employer fosters social inclusion and supports the quality of life of our staff,” President, CEO and Head Coach of Libro Credit Union Stephen Bolton said in a statement Friday morning. “Growing regional prosperity goes further than financial transactions and balance sheets. It’s about addressing complex social issues in southwestern Ontario and working collaboratively with organizations to help build and strengthen the communities we passionately serve. We recognize different businesses will make their own decisions about the best way to contribute to the health of their communities, and Libro encourages that conversation always.”
Officials say many other communities across the province and Canada have already committed to offering residents a living wage including Waterloo, Hamilton, Ottawa, Windsor, Halifax, Montréal, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Calgary and Vancouver.
Local employers are encouraged to voluntarily commit to offering their employees a living wage. More information for the public and employers is available at www.livingwagelondon.ca. The site outlines in greater detail how the living wage is calculated.
Other organizations that took part in the Living Wage Project included Ellipsis Digital, Western Fair District, Downtown London, Goodwill Industries, King’s University College, the Ivey Business School and the Middlesex-London Health Unit.