Public health officials are concerned that what is called a “living wage” in Northumberland County is $4 higher than the present minimum wage.
Kristina Nairn is the Social Determinants of Health nurse for the Haliburton, Kawartha Pine Ridge health unit.
Nairn says the gap is “worrisome” when well-paying, full-time jobs continue to decline. “The living wage is what a family of four – two parents and two children – needs to earn in 2018 to pay its bills and avoid living in poverty.” says Nairn. “It is worrisome that the living wage in Northumberland County is higher than what someone would currently earn in a minimum wage job. Unfortunately, with many support programs being cancelled or delayed, and the growth of unstable employment, the income gap in Northumberland County is only going to get worse leaving low-income earners facing an even greater financial crunch.”
The Ontario Living Wage Network calculates the living wage using local data collected by the health unit, including the cost of food, housing transportation and child care. It shows a family of four, with both parents working full-time, would each have to earn a wage of $17.95 an hour, in order to cover basic expenses in 2018.
That’s $4 higher than the current Ontario minimum wage of $14 an hour.