Living Wage Update Highlights Local Struggles of Earning Less

Stratford, ON – Living Wage Week in Ontario runs from November 4 – November 8 and United Way Perth-Huron’s (UWPH) Social Research and Planning Council (SRPC) is taking the opportunity to announce the new Living Wage of $17.55 an hour for Perth-Huron, up slightly from last year’s figure of $17.44 an hour.  

“The importance of a Living Wage — and the benefits to individuals and challenges for employers — is a meaningful discussion,” says SRPC Manager Joelle Lamport-Lewis. “Too many local people are forced to make hard decisions for their families on how to allocate extremely limited resources. The SRPC and UWPH want to be at the forefront of ongoing discussions to improve local lives.”

Calculated annually by the SRPC, the Living Wage is based on the living expenses of a family of four with both adults working full-time for 35 hours a week, once government transfers and deductions are taken into account. Everyday expenses included in the calculation are food, housing, utilities, childcare and transportation.

“It’s important to keep numbers current so the calculation continues to show the reality of living in our region,” adds Lamport-Lewis. “For example, housing costs in Perth and Huron have increased in recent years and that’s not yet reflected in the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation rental reports. If housing costs continue to rise, adjustments may have a significant impact on our Living Wage Rate in the future.”

Infographic showing the major expenses considered when calculating the annual Living Wage

For more information about Perth Huron’s 2019 Living Wage, CLICK HERE.

In Perth and Huron Counties the reality is stark; one in two households earn below the current Living Wage level. Families working hard in minimum wage positions or juggling two or three part-time jobs are making difficult decisions between paying rent or purchasing healthy food — and paying other bills late if they can at all — creating constant stress. Shame, guilt and depression are common and the daily struggle to make ends meet creates an environment where it is hard to focus on anything other than survival, leading to a perpetual cycle of poverty that hurts individuals and deepens divisions within communities. The Living Wage offers a way out of this cycle for individuals and communities.   

“Employers across Perth and Huron have been very open and willing to listen to the benefits of a Living Wage,” adds UWPH Executive Director Ryan Erb. “Paying a Living Wage isn’t always an easy decision, but business owners also understand this is about more than paying someone a dollar or two more per hour. It’s about building a stronger workplace environment and investing in the long-term health of the communities we care about. Employers who pay a Living Wage or more and have already certified are also telling us it’s improving their bottom line, so this can be an opportunity for businesses as well as a benefit to workers.”

About the Social Research and Planning Council
The SRPC is operated by United Way Perth-Huron and is comprised of volunteer community representatives dedicated to the collection, analysis and distribution of information relating to local social trends. Research enables United Way to discover and understand the root causes of issues affecting Perth-Huron and in turn mobilize the community.

About United Way Perth-Huron
UWPH is a 100% local organization working to address #UNIGNORABLE issues like poverty, homelessness and mental health in our communities. Thanks to United Way and people across the region, over 32,000 of the most vulnerable in Perth and Huron Counties have a brighter future. To show your #LocalLove by donating or volunteering, call 519-271-7730 or 1-877-818-8867, mail to 32 Erie Street, Stratford, ON N5A 2M4 or visit

Graphic showing benefits to employers, workers and community of paying a Living Wage.



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