minimum wage ontario

Ontario's minimum wage is going up but it's still not enough to afford to live in Toronto

The general minimum wage in Ontario is officially increasing by 10 cents an hour to $14.35 for most workers in the province this week, but as many residents have been pointing out, the meagre hike still doesn't earn people enough to be able to live in major cities like Toronto.

The province has gradually been raising base pay for a number of years now — both before and after a wage freeze by Premier Doug Ford in 2018 — with this next figure due to remain in place from Oct. 1, 2o21 to Sept. 22, 2022.

For the same period, student minimum wage will climb from $13.40 to $13.50 per hour, liquor servers minimum wage will rise from $12.45 to $12.55. The minimum pay for homeworkers, hunting and fishing and wilderness guides will likewise increase between 10 and 15 cents hourly.

For people in the general category, that amounts to $27,982 before income tax and other deductions, even if the person has full-time hours, receives two weeks fully paid vacation, is paid for all stat holidays and takes no additional time off.

To live in Toronto, renters have to make approximately $55,500–$61,000 pre-tax for room, board and other basic expenses depending on whether they drive or take transit, while homeowners must gross $88,000–$94,000, as of the beginning of 2020 — and costs of living have only gone up since then.

If the hope is to own home in the city, experts estimate that residents have to have an annual household income of at least whopping $196,913 for a non-condo, or $131,387 for a condo.

And again, housing costs have risen since these July 2021 figures, with the average home in the GTA now well over the $1 million mark and expected to spike another $50,000 in just two months.

For renters, the average apartment in the GTA — not just Toronto proper — is currently lower than usual at $2,097 per month. One-bedrooms currently cost an average of $1,864 monthly, and are increasing fast.

Though the raise is indeed a move in the right direction, it's clear that most don't see it as enough of a jump to keep up with housing, food and other costs that have swelled at far faster rates than wages have been able to keep up with.

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim at Forest Cafe

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