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HomeNewsAlternatives North Releases 2022 Living Wage Report

Alternatives North Releases 2022 Living Wage Report

Alternatives North has released its calculation of the living wage required by NWT families, with updates for Yellowknife, Hay River and Inuvik, and the first-ever calculations of a living wage for Fort Smith.

In order to earn a wage that allows for a decent standard of living, each parent in a family of four with two parents working 37.5 hours per week would have to earn an hourly wage of $23.38 in Yellowknife, $21.32 in Hay River, $22.59 in Inuvik and $17.81 in Fort Smith.

These rates are a slight decrease in costs due to additional Government transfers and positive changes to the tax structure. The decreases were $0.57 in Yellowknife, $3.43 in Hay River and $1.19 in Inuvik. 

The living wage is calculated for a family of four, including two working parents, one child in full time child care, and one child in elementary school. Since two-thirds of Inuvik’s population is Indigenous, that living wage is calculated for Indigenous persons who are eligible for programs non-Indigenous families cannot access.

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“Though it is positive that the living wage rate is slightly lower than last year, it is still well above the $15.20 minimum wage,” says Alternatives North’s Suzette Montreuil, who led recalculation efforts. “We continue to be faced with the need to either raise wages, decrease costs or increase subsidies.”

Michel Haener, an Alberta-based economist calculated the living wage rates. She has calculated living wages for other communities including Grande Prairie, Red Deer and Canmore. The nationally-recognized Canadian Living Wage Framework provides a methodology that allows living wage rates to be compared among communities.

The Canadian Living Wage Framework uses a bare-bones budget for the calculation that includes shelter, food, clothing, transportation, child care, health care services and supplies, and a small emergency fund. The budget does not include paying debts, saving money, helping other family members financially or owning a pet, among other things.

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