The Calculation

The 2017 living wage rate in Waterloo region

The 2017 living wage rate in Waterloo region is $15.42 an hour.

The living wage rate is the hourly wage someone working full-time, full-year needs to earn to cover their basic expenses and support social inclusion in community life. It is based on actual costs in local communities. So the Waterloo Region living wage rate reflects the actual cost for things like rent, food, transportation, hydro, child care, etc. in Waterloo region.

The calculation also takes into account taxes and government transfers. In 2016, the federal government introduced changes to child benefits increasing incomes for low- and modest-income families and offsetting higher household expenses enough to reduce the living wage rate.


Basic Living Wage Formula Calculation


Living Wage Waterloo Region calculation is based on the National Living Wage framework using a reference household of a family of four with two parents each working full-time, full-year. This new calculation reflects a decrease of 63 cents from the 2016 amount of $16.05. Over the past year there has been an increase in household expenses mainly due to a rise in child care costs. However, this increase was offset by the expansion of the Canada Child Benefit implemented by the federal government in 2016. 

For details on the 2017 calculation: Updating the Waterloo region living wage calculation for 2017

The living wage includes:

  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Shelter
  • Childcare
  • Transportation
  • Medical expenses
  • Recreation
  • A modest vacation

The living wage does not include:

  • retirement savings
  • debt repayment
  • home ownership
  • savings for children’s education
  • Anything other than the smallest cushion for emergencies or hard times.