Living Wage Series - Canada - December 2018 - In Canadian Dollar, per Month

The Living Wage is based on the concept that work should provide an adequate income to cover the necessary living costs of a family. WageIndicator uses prices from the Cost of Living Survey to calculate Living Wage in more than 60 countries. The Living Wage is an approximate income needed to meet a family’s basic needs including food, housing, transport, health, education, tax deductions and other necessities.

The following table summarises the varying expenditure and income needs for the three commonly occurring family household compositions.

Expenditure and Living Wage calculation (monthly rates in Canadian Dollar)

  Typical family Standard family Single-adult
  from-to from-to from-to
Food 1070-1170 1190-1300 295-325
Housing 1480-1820 1480-1820 925-1100
Transport 170-205 170-205 86-100
Health 120-275 120-275 30-68
Education 100-310 100-310 0
Other costs 145-190 155-195 67-80
Total Expenditure 3085-3970 3215-4105 1403-1674
Net Living Wage 1815-2335 1786-2281 1403-1674
Gross Living Wage 2130-2730 2090-2670 1640-1960

Note: For more details see Living Wage FAQ.


Family Living Wages (monthly rates in Canadian Dollar)

There is not a single answer to what is the adequate cost of living. The result is complex, as the cost of living varies by household composition, location, and employment pattern. The following table presents the Living Wage estimates for a set of most common family household compositions and under different assumptions about working hours.

Typical family (two parents + 1.6 children, 1.7 working) 2130-2730
Standard family (two parents + 2 children, 1.8 working) 2090-2670
Two parents and two children, 2 working 1880-2400
Two parents and two children, 1.5 working 2510-3200
Two parents and two children, 1 working 3760-4810
Two parents and three children, 1.7 working 2430-3070
Two parents and four children, 1.7 working 2640-3300
Single-adult without children, 1 working 1640-1960

Note: Results in the table are rounded.


Living Wages in Context (monthly rates in Canadian Dollar)

The Minimum Wage is a national legally binding obligation on employers which often make no reference to a living standard. Living Wage describes the adequate living standard. The common goal of the many living wage campaigns currently taking place all over the world is to lift Minimum Wages levels to those of the Living Wages. WageIndicator presents Living Wages jointly with Minimum Wages, aiming to raise awareness concerning the remaining differences in levels. Living Wages are presented in context with other wage indicators including prevailing wages of workers over recent years.

  2015 2016 2017 2018
Minimum wage - 1764 1806 2426
Living Wage - Single Adult 1640-1980 1680-1980 1670-1990 1640-1960
Living Wage - Typical Family 2270-2930 2260-2890 2160-2800 2130-2730
Real wage of low-skilled worker - - - -
Real wage of medium-skilled worker - - - -
Real wage of high-skilled worker - - - -

Note: Table shows the lowest monthly Minimum Wage in a country, when available. Reported monthly earnings of workers in low-, medium-, and high-skilled occupations are obtained from the voluntary WageIndicator web survey on work and wages. Results in the table are rounded.

Canada Graph

Food basket and food prices in Canadian Dollar

The food expenditure is the main component of Living Wage and it is determined by the price of food basket. The food prices are taken from WageIndicator Cost of Living Survey which collects the actual prices of all items necessary to calculate the Living Wage. The composition of the food basket is taken from the national food balance sheets published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The food basket is scaled to 2,100 calories per person per day that is the nutritional requirement for good health proposed by World Bank (Handbook on poverty and inequality, 2009).

Food item Grams per day Energy (kcal) Price per kilo
Wheat, barley and cereals products 149 409 4.3-5
Rice 21 84 2.5-3.5
Meat (beef, pork, poultry) 155 220 9-11
Oils (soyabean, olive, palm) 42 344 -
Sugar (Raw Equivalent) 55 206 4-4
Maize and products 32 70 -
Milk - Excluding Butter 318 119 4-4
Vegetables, Other 137 38 3.8-4.9
Potatoes and products 121 71 3-3
Butter, Ghee 14 110 10-10
Groundnuts (Shelled Eq) 16 58 9-9
Pulses, Other and products 16 57 -
Cassava and products 1 1 4-4
Egg (price per 10 eggs) 22 30 2.5-2.5
Sunflowerseed Oil 1 8 -
Fish products 38 23 16-18
Beer (0.5 liter/pint) 98 41 4-4
Sweeteners, Other 26 59 -
Beans 2 6 -
Sweet potatoes 2 2 4-4
Bananas 26 15 1-1
Soyabeans 2 5 -
Yams 1 1 -
Apples and products 36 17 3-3
Tomatoes and products 32 7 6-6
Onions 15 5 3-3
Oranges, Mandarines 74 12 -
Plantains 1 1 3-3
Peas 3 9 -
Roots, Other 0 1 4-4
Seeds and kernels 2 12 6-6
Wine (bottle) 19 13 27-27
Pineapples and products 8 3 -
Cream 17 32 8-9
Olives (including preserved) 1 2 5-5
Honey 1 4 -
Citrus, Other 2 1 5-5
Lemons, Limes and products 9 1 4-4
Tea (including mate) 1 0 15-15
Grapefruit and products 3 1 5-5
Coffee and products 13 6 15-15


WageIndicator Living Wage background:

The WageIndicator Living Wage is set to provide acceptable living standard to a family of a particular size. WageIndicator presents Living Wages for several household types and working hours which reflect the most frequently found real situations in which people have to make a living: 1. Typical family Living Wage is a baseline estimate that respects the country specific conditions. Typical family is comprised of two adults and the number of children is given by country specific fertility rate (the average number of children a woman is expected to have during her lifespan). One adult is working full-time and the working hours of second adult are approximated by national employment rate. The total income earned by two adults paid living wage is sufficient to reach adequate living standard. 2. Standard family Living Wage is estimated for a family composed of two adults and two children (referred to as family 2+2). Living wage is calculated under different assumptions about working hours. These include that both adults work full-time (family employment rate is 2), or at least one adult works part-time or half-time (family employment rate is 1.8 and 1.5), or one adult does not work at all (i.e. patriarchal model with family employment 1). Alternatives refer to trade-offs between leisure and work and define what living wage represents. In every case the total income earned by two adults paid living wage is sufficient to reach adequate living standard. 3. Extended family Living Wage includes family with three or four children. One adult works full-time and the work intensity of second parent is approximated by national employment rate. 4. Individual Living Wage represents an acceptable standard of living for a single individual working full-time.

Data sources: WageIndicator Cost of Living Survey, World Bank Databank Fertility rate 2010-2014, ILO Estimated participation rate in 2017, FAO Food balance sheet in 2013.

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