You need to make more than $25 an hour to afford life in Mississauga, Brampton and the GTA


Published November 14, 2023 at 3:30 pm

Cost of living over 25 in GTA Mississauga Brampton Halton

If you live in Mississauga, Brampton or anywhere in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), you must make more than $25 an hour to live comfortably. 

According to a recent report by the Ontario Living Wage Network (OLWN), the GTA is the most expensive region in Ontario when it comes to 2023 living wage rates in Ontario cities. 

Other areas that require a higher living wage include Hamilton ($20.80), Grey Bruce Perth Huron Simcoe ($22.75), Ottawa ($21.95) and Dufferin Waterlook Guelph-Wellington ($20.90).

The report notes the minimum wage increased by 6.8 per cent to $16.55 in October–a rate still below the minimum GTA residents need to get by.

The increases are expected, especially at a time when the median home price in Ontario sits at $931,870 (more than $400,000 over the Canadian average) and the average asking rent sits at $2,492

Not unexpectedly, the report says that food and rental inflation are driving up living wage rates, with Ottawa feeling the most significant impact, with the living wage rate climbing 12 per cent.

In the GTA, which includes Toronto and the Peel, Halton, York and Durham regions, residents must make $25.05 an hour to comfortably afford the cost of living–an 8.2 per cent climb from $23.15 in 2022. 

In the report, the OLWN says it encourages employers to offer wages that help lower-income residents live more comfortably in their cities.

“The work of the Ontario Living Wage Network centres on one core goal: the elimination of working poverty. By calculating the local living wage rates and encouraging employers to pay it, we have created a simple and expedient way to bring up wages for workers in a wide variety of sectors,” the report reads.

In order to come up with its calculations, the OLWN factors in shelter, food, transportation and other expenses, including modest vacations and cultural and community experiences. 

According to the report, OLWN analyzes costs for three types of households: two parents aged 35 and two children aged 7 and 3, a single parent with a child aged 7, and a single adult. 

The living wage rate is the before-tax income that each adult would need to cover the expenses included in the “basket” for their family type. The calculation considers government transfers the family may receive and the payroll and income taxes the adults may pay.

Living expenses

In the GTA, a family of four is projected to spend $12,292 annually on food, while a single family parent is expected to spend about $5,832 and a single person about $4,191. 

As far as shelter, the report suggests a family of four in the city is spending $32,323 a year–by far the highest on the list of Ontario cities.

The report says a single-parent family is spending $26,333 and an individual is spending $23,578. 

For clothing, Ontario families are spending about $4,713 if they have four members. Single-parent families spend about $2,667 and individuals about $761.

For transportation (which may include both a car and public transit), families of four in the GTA can expect to spend 9,603 a year. Single-parent families could spend up to $7,424 and individuals could spend $2,179. 

The wage calculations also factor in adult education (one course with textbooks costs about $522), medical expenses, illness and insurance ($195-$285), internet and cell phone costs ($475 for cell phone and $969 for internet in the GTA), childcare (anywhere from $6,713 to $12,697 in the GTA) and other expenses such as personal care items ($3,507 to $10,933 in the GTA). 

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