VIDEO: Health Unit Releases Living Wage Report

A living wage is $15.15 per hour according to a report from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.

The second annual Living Wage Report shows that's up from last year's rate of $14.81 and is 8.2 per cent higher than the provinces current minimum wage of $14 per hour.

Health Promotions Manager Neil Mackenzie says the costs of goods and services including: food, shelter, utilities, household furnishings, transportation, daycare, telephone, and basic internet are all factored in.

"Things that contribute to your health, like your ability to have healthy nutritious food to engage socially within your community, to participate in recreation and other activities that make you a meaningful participant in your community," he says.

Statistics were compiled from multiple sources to show how much money is required to sustain a healthy lifestyle for two 35-year-old adult parents working 35 hours per week, with two children ages seven and three.

It also assumes that household takes advantage of all government subsidies and rebates and doesn't receive health benefits. A family with benefits would require $14 per hour to live a healthy lifestyle.

The health unit started a program called Living Wage Certified last year, something Mackenzie says was in its infancy with the minimum wage hike in 2018 and will promoted more aggressively in 2019.

"We certify them, we promote them through social media, they get logos that they can use as part of their email branding. It basically identifies them as meaningful and caring partners in our community," added Mackenzie, who says 19-employers in Windsor-Essex are currently Living Wage Certified.

Mackenzie tells AM800 News the hope is businesses will see paying a living wage promotes a happy and loyal workforce.

"To not pay a living wage means that you may be recruiting employees more often and there's a cost associated with that," he says. "When people make a living wage they tend to spend that money in the community they live in, so it all kind of comes full circle."

Some key items not factored in are extras like family pets, savings for education and retirement.

None essential items with health risks like tobacco and alcohol are also not factored into the study.