Hamilton’s new Living Wage is $20.80/hour.

A new report from the Ontario Living Wage Network shows that a full-time worker in Hamilton needs to earn $20.80 an hour to meet their needs and participate in the community.

A Living Wage is an evidence-based calculation that factors in the cost of housing, nutritious food, childcare, transportation, and the opportunity to participate in community activities.  Rates vary somewhat in regions across Ontario as costs of living change. Amid decades-high inflation, Hamilton’s Living Wage rate remains significantly above the province’s minimum wage of $16.55/hr.

Unlike the provincially mandated minimum wage, the local Living Wage rate is not legislated, but Living Wage Hamilton, a coalition of community groups including the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton, Hamilton and District Labour Council and the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction, has been encouraging local businesses and organizations to certify as Living Wage employers and pay a living wage to their workers.

“By paying employees a living wage, businesses in Hamilton can contribute to the overall well-being of their workforce. When employees can afford a decent standard of living, they experience reduced financial stress, improved mental and physical health, and increased job satisfaction. This can lead to higher employee morale and lower turnover rates, resulting in cost savings for employers.”

Tom Cooper, Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction

Hamilton’s Living Wage Rate is up 9.2% from 2022.

“Predictably, rent hikes and food inflation are the primary drivers of the increases in our living wage rates this year. This is really about a rate that allows someone to participate in our community and not just to get by.”

Ted Hildebrandt, Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton

Members of Living Wage Hamilton will be presenting details on the new Living Wage calculation to Hamilton City Councillors on Monday, November 6, 2023, at General Issues Committee pre-budget hearings.

For more details, check out the Ontario Living Wage Network calculation report here.

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