In order to earn a living wage in the NWT cities of Yellowknife and Hay River, residents need to be making $24 or more per hour.
Alternatives North, an NWT social justice coalition focused on poverty reduction, says Yellowknifers would need to earn $23.95 per hour and Hay River residents would need to earn $24.75 per hour to achieve a ‘living wage.’
The calculations were done for a family of four with two working parents each working 37.5 hours, with one child in childcare and another in elementary school.
The living wage covers basics including housing, food, clothing and transportation. It does not include saving money, paying debts, owning a home or costs associated with pets.
Suzette Montreuil, who led the calculation of the wage rates, says the living wage is a gauge of what residents need to earn in order to have a decent life in these communities.
“Living wage rates show what it takes to live decently in the NWT. To ensure this basic standard of living, we can either raise wages, decrease costs or increase subsidies,” she says. “Either way, we have to do something to help lower-income working residents.”