Simcoe County Circles Guide to The Living Wage

The County of Simcoe recently released their 2018 Living Wage Recalculation for Simcoe County report and it has been a hot topic of discussion for many local groups and individuals. How is the Living Wage defined and calculated? Is it realistic? How were the parameters decided? Let’s take a look at this hot topic in our latest blog.


The living wage isn’t the same as the minimum wage employers are required to pay their employees. The living wage is based upon the actual cost of living in the community. As an example, while a fast food service employee will make the same wage working in Elmvale as they will in Toronto, the cost of living in Toronto will be much higher, and the living wage will reflect that.


A living wage is calculated to include the basic needs of a household – rent, food, transportation and childcare costs. For North Simcoe (including Midland, Penetanguishene, Tiny and Tay), these costs were revealed to be $68,580 for a family of four, with both parents working full-time jobs, two children (seven and three), with one parent doing part-time studies and one of the children in before and after school daycare.


These costs break down to an hourly, livable wage of $18 per hour for residents of Simcoe County, with a full breakdown as follows:


Childcare – $16,377

Rent – $15,720

Transportation – $10,145

Food – $8,429


These costs are calculated as an average and are supposed to act as a guideline to figure out a full family’s living wage. Naturally, it’s case-specific – someone single will have a very different living wage than a couple, and that couple will have a different wage than a couple with kids or a single parent.


Local initiatives have begun to appear throughout communities, in which local business owners are proud to offer wages to their employees that match the living wage, going above and beyond the bare minimum that they are obligated to pay. For a full list of community initiatives and a living wage employer directory throughout all of Ontario, visit

The minimum wage is often times not enough for some. While legislation has made it possible to make sure employees are paid fairly, the location in which you live can make it harder than it should be to get by on a minimum wage, compared to what the average living wage should be. If you are having trouble getting by on your wage, Simcoe County Circles can help you develop a real plan that will help you move to financial self-sufficiency.