Vibrant Communities Calgary

Living Wage Basics

What is a Living Wage?

A Living Wage is the amount of income an individual or family needs to:

  • Meet their basic needs: housing, transportation, adequate, nutritious food
  • Maintain a safe, decent, dignified standard of living
  • Save for future needs and goals
  • Devote quality time to family, friends and community

How much is a Living Wage?

Calgary’s Living Wage Action Team has determined that an individual working full time (35 hours per week, 52 weeks a year) needs to make a minimum of $18.15/hour without benefits, or $17.00/hour with benefits to earn a Living Wage in Calgary. This figure is based on the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative’s Canadian Living Wage Framework.

Being paid less than a Living Wage means earning less than $33,024 each year. As of October 1, 2015, minimum wage in Alberta is $11.20 per hour. This means that citizens working for minimum wage would have to work roughly 60 hours per week to meet their basic needs in Calgary. (Annual figures are based on a 35 hour work week, 52 weeks per year).

Who isn`t receiving a Living Wage? (2012)

  • Over half of those earning less than a Living Wage are 25 and older
  • 62% of those earning less than a Living Wage are women, up 2% from 2011
  • There are 117,500 people in Calgary working for less than a Living Wage

Why does everyone deserve a Living Wage?

  • It’s the right thing to do: people who work should not live in poverty
  • It’s only fair: hard work should be rewarded with adequate pay and benefits
  • The various services and facilities in our city require all kinds of workers with all kinds of skill levels. All Calgarians working full-time, no matter what job they do, no matter what kind of work, no matter what level of skill, should be able to, at a very minimum, afford their basic needs.

The difference between earning a minimum wage and a living wage is living a life of poverty