More than 40% of people living in SDGCA make less than $30,000 per year
[February 21, 2023, Cornwall] United Way Centraide SDG (UWC SDG) shares the 2022-23 living wage for Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry, Cornwall and Akwesasne (SDGCA) to highlight the disparity between income and cost of living in this community.
According to the Ontario Living Wage Network (OLWN) – a network of employers, employees, non-profits, and researchers – $19.05 per hour ($33,337 annually) is the minimum an individual needs to earn to support themselves and/or their families to cover basic expenses such as shelter, food, childcare, clothing and footwear, communications, insurance, and transportation. This wage calculation considers government transfers the family/individual may receive (like the Canada Child Benefit, the Ontario CARE benefit, etc.) to supplement this income.
Minimum wage in Ontario is currently $15.50 which is 22.9% less than what’s required to cover basic expenses. According to the 2021 census, over 40% of individuals and families in SDGCA are making less than $30,000 per year. In Cornwall, specifically, this number is over 50%. This means that half of the residents in this city are living in poverty.
“We’re feeling the impact of this gap in the social sector. In the past year, there has been a 120% increase in local foodbank usage, a growing demand for mental health services, and a rising number of people facing homelessness,” said Juliette Labossière, UWC SDG Executive Director, “A living wage alone won’t solve the complexity of poverty in our community, but paying employees what they need to make ends meet is a critical step towards helping those who are able to work full-time afford to live and participate in the place they call home.”
To calculate the living wage, the OLWN draws on community-specific data to determine regional expenses. In SDGCA, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) is a key source for this local understanding that helps determine the living wage each year.
“The Eastern Ontario Health Unit is supportive of the Living Wage Initiative; an important initiative that allows people to be active participants of the social, civic, and cultural aspects of their communities. We understand how a living wage positively influences the health of not only the individual but of their families, our communities, and our businesses,” said Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer, Eastern Ontario Health Unit.
The United Way Centraide SDG is asking local businesses and organizations to consider the benefits of paying a living wage. While improving the quality of life of their employees, there are also long-term benefits to implementing a living wage strategy as an employer such as a decrease in employee turnover, a reduction in new hiring and training costs, and an increase in employee productivity, morale and loyalty.
The OLWN certifies living wage employers and offers them tools to boost recruitment and marketing strategies by publicly recognizing the critical investment required to pay all direct and indirect employers the living wage rate for the region(s) in which they operate.
There are over 500 certified living wage employers in Ontario; however, none are currently certified in Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry, Cornwall and Akwesasne.
Learn more about the 2022-23 Living Wage in SDGCA: https://unitedwaysdg.com/living-wage-in-stormont-dundas-glengarry-cornwall-akwesasne/