August 25, 2022 Winnipeg, Treaty One Territory – The Manitoba Office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives calculates that a family of four, with two working parents, would require a wage of $18.34/ hour in Winnipeg, $15.66/ hour in Brandon and $16.25/ hour in Thompson in order to maintain a modest standard of living in each respective city. The living wage reflects the income required to support a family based on the actual costs of living in a specific community. This includes costs for housing, transportation, and food, among other items.
“The recent announcement by the Manitoba government to increase the minimum wage from $11.95 to $15 over the next two years demonstrates the government understands that the current minimum wage places working families in an impossible financial situation” states CCPA Errol Black Chair in Labour Issues and Senior Researcher Niall Harney. “Although these increases will provide a significant boost to working families, many will still struggle to meet their basic needs until Manitoba’s minimum wage approaches relative parity with the living wage.”
While the living wage calculation is based on the needs of two-earner families with young children, it would also support a family throughout life so that young adults are not discouraged from having children and older workers have some extra income as they age. The living wage gets families out of severe financial stress by lifting them out of poverty and providing a basic level of economic security. But the calculation is based on a conservative, bare-bones budget without the extras many of us take for granted, like income to pay off loans, own a house, or save for retirement.
The living wage in Winnipeg was $16.15/hour in 2020. The main reason it has risen 14% in two years are the rapid rising costs of renting an apartment, going up $155 per month and the recognition of the importance of a cell phone in the base cost. Costs increased across all categories were $442/month from 2020.
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.
Living wage expenses in the three cities were calculated using data up to January 2022. The report does not include any changes to government transfers or cost of living increases after December 31, 2021.
Thompson Living Wage infographic