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$22/hr wage needed to survive in a two-bedroom apartment in Canada—report

A minimum wage of $12.65 in Vancouver means one would have to work a 112-hour week to afford a two-bedroom apartment.

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Siddak Ahuja Montreal QC
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According to a Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives report, minimum-wage earners would need to work much longer hours to afford an average two-bedroom unit.

“The rental wage across the country is $22 an hour for a two-bedroom or $20 an hour for a one-bedroom,” report author and economist David Macdonald said Wednesday.

“But it’s much more in big cities like Vancouver and Toronto.”

According to Global News, the report established that 31 out of 36 Canadian cities don’t have a single neighbourhood where a minimum wage earner could afford a two-bedroom apartment.

“It’s actually true in almost all the big cities in Canada that even at the neighbourhood level, you can’t find a one- or two-bedroom apartment being affordable for a minimum wage worker,” Macdonald said.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) data was used to calculate housing costs. According to the report, increasing housing costs impact a third of all Canadians.

Since minimum wages are less than rental wages, minimum wage earners are spending around a third of their income on housing.

“It’s very difficult for someone working at or near minimum wage to find a decent place to live,” Macdonald said.

The report suggests what the minimum wages for most major cities should be, while also calculating the exact number of hours one would need to work in order to afford an apartment.

Vancouver

A minimum wage of $12.65 in Vancouver means one would have to work a 112-hour week to afford a two-bedroom apartment. The suggested minimum wage for Vancouver is $35.43, almost three times the wage today.

Toronto

With a $14 minimum wage, one would have to work 96 hours a week. The suggested wage for Toronto is close to $34 an hour.

Calgary

Currently, with a $15 minimum wage, one would need to labour for 72 hours a week. The suggested wage is $27 per hour.

Ottawa

At $14 an hour, one would need to work for 74 hours a week. The suggested wage is $26 an hour.

Halifax

At $11.55 an hour, 78 hours of work a week would be needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment. The suggested wage should be $23 an hour.

Montreal

At $12 an hour, one would need to work for 54 hours a week to live in a two-bedroom apartment. The suggested wage is not much higher at $16 an hour.

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