Living Wage rising due to high costs of food rent - 2023 Update released today.

December 12, 2023

 

Living Wage rising due to high costs of food rent - 2023 Update released today.  

December 12, 2023

For Immediate Release (Winnipeg, Treaty One): 

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives - Manitoba (CCPA-MB) is releasing the 2023 living wage this morning, 10am at 223 Carlton Ave (ACU main lobby). 

In Winnipeg, the living wage has risen to $19.21 per hour, in Brandon to $15.69 per hour, and in Thompson to $17.48 per hour. In Winnipeg, this is an increase of 87 cents (5 percent) over last year. In Brandon the increase is 3 cents above the 2022 living wage and in Thompson the increase is 85 cents (5 percent).

The increase to the 2023 living wage was driven by increases in the cost of groceries, the cost of renting an apartment, and transportation costs. While these increases in the cost of essentials were considerable, the introduction of $10-per-day childcare brought down monthly costs for working families with children. The main reason for the difference in the living wage rates between the three cities is the cost of housing, which is lower in Brandon and Thompson.

This research demonstrates that the legislated minimum wage, currently $15.30 per hour, keeps minimum wage workers in poverty. CCPA-MB calls on the Province of Manitoba to increase the minimum wage to $19.21 per hour, in line with the 2023 living wage, and to adopt an annual process for adjusting the minimum wage in line with a living wage. 

“With the holidays just around the corner, working poverty is reaching historic levels in Manitoba” says Niall Harney, Senior Researcher at CCPA-MB. “Wages are not increasing in line with the cost of essentials, underlining the need for the provincial minimum wage to be a living wage.” 

“Facing a rapid rise in the cost of living, this year’s update shows that universal social programs like $10 a day childcare make a big difference for working families, while tax cuts provide very little to lower-income families who actually need it” - Jesse Hajer, Economics and Labour Studies, University of Manitoba

Research shows the benefits of paying a living wage for employers and employees alike including increased retention, wellbeing and productivity. 

“Working people should not be living in poverty, but this is the case with some City of Winnipeg workers. We call on the City to do its part and finally pay a living wage.” - Gord Delbridge, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 500

“In Manitoba, the necessity for many to work multiple jobs because of inadequate wages undermines our community's stability since people cannot meet their essential needs. Implementing a living wage is a feasible step that benefits not just workers, but businesses too, fostering a healthier, more resilient community. This shift from a narrow profit focus to a holistic well-being approach can strengthen the very foundation of our society.” - Daniel Waycik, Persons Community Solutions

“Assiniboine Credit Union is committed to the wellbeing and resilience of our members, employees, communities, and the environment. One important way we ensure the financial health of employees is by paying a Living Wage to help make ends meet at home. ACU is also expanding Living Wage requirements to companies who do work for ACU like cleaning our buildings. This is how we create good jobs in our communities and support the financial health of those who work for ACU and our local economy. Paying a living wage to employees is simply good business practice. Assiniboine Credit Union is proud to be a living wage employer.” - Kevin Sitka, President & CEO Assiniboine Credit Union

Contact:

Niall Harney, CCPA Senior Researcher and Errol Black Chair in Labour Issues, Mobile: 204-510-7934, [email protected].

About the living wage

The living wage reflects the wage required for a family of four with two working adults and two children to escape severe financial stress by lifting them out of poverty and providing a basic level of economic security. The living wage covers basic expenses such as food, shelter, transportation, childcare, and clothing, but does not cover debt payments, saving for retirement, caring for a family member, or a cushion for emergencies. 

About the Authors

Niall Harney is a Senior Researcher at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives - Manitoba office and holds the Errol Black Chair in Labour Issues. 

Jesse Hajer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics and Labour Studies Program at the University of Manitoba and a Research Associate with CCPA Manitoba.

Natalie Dandenault is a graduate student in the Department of Economics at the University of Manitoba. 

About 

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is Canada’s leading progressive research institute.  CCPA is an independent, charitable research institute. 

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