Minimum wage in Ontario was due to go up in January to $15 an hour before Doug Ford's Ontario Conservatives axed the planned wage hike. Now, that number is staying at $14 an hour, which is still the second highest minimum wage in the entire country. But, even the current hourly wage is not liveable in many Canadian cities, especially Toronto.
As it turns out, the annual income you would earn making minimum wage isn't even comparable to the average cost of living in Toronto. In fact, the cost of living in the city is at least $6000 more a year than the average annual earnings of a full-time employee making minimum wage.
With the Ontario minimum wage at $14 an hour, someone working 40 hours a week - which is considered full time, including holidays - will only be earning on average $26,320 annually. That number is also before taxes or other government deductions.
Meanwhile, in Toronto, the average cost of living is around $32,885 per year. Broken down, that includes an average monthly cost of $1672.13 spent on rent, $127.50 on phone and internet, $176.25 on transportation, $283.60 on groceries, $354 on entertainment, $75 on fitness, and $52 on insurance.
Even if you cut out the "luxuries" like the internet, entertainment, and fitness expenses, your annual cost of living is $26,207.76. Meaning you are only saving around $100 at the end of the year - and that's living completely bare bones, without a cell phone, internet, and no form of entertainment or going out for the entire year.
The fact that people are being forced to cut back on their quality of life just to barely make ends meet is a big problem in Ontario and Canada. But, it's not just Doug Ford's fault. While the $15 an hour wage increase would have helped, it's not enough.
Even with an increased wage of $15 an hour, in the city of Toronto, that wouldn't be considered a living wage. The average annual income of someone making $15 an hour is still only $28,200, or $4000 less than the average cost of living in the city.
That means that the municipal government also needs to play a role in making Toronto more affordable for people. Whether it's through reduced transit costs, more affordable housing options, or through companies providing more reasonable phone plans so that people are able to at least have a chance at covering all their monthly expenses.
Only one province in Canada has a higher minimum wage than Ontario. In Alberta, the wage increased to $15 an hour on October 1st. BC is also on track to raise their minimum wage above $15 an hour over the next few years.