Health officials say $14.81 an hour is what it costs to live comfortably in Windsor-Essex

Health officials in Windsor are saying Ontario’s minimum wage of $14 per hour is not enough to live comfortably.

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has set the living wage for 2018 in Windsor at $14.81 an hour. That salary is without benefits or a pension.

The living wage is different from minimum wage — it takes into account the cost of food, clothing, rent and other real costs of goods and services in the community.

“Our number is based on the actual environment here in Windsor-Essex,” said Nicole Dupuis, director of health promotion at the health unit. “So what does it take to house, clothe, feed, participate in society, do all the basic things you need to do to have a basic quality of life.”

Health officials are trying to encourage employers to pay their employees more based on the findings.

Nicole Dupuis is the director of health promotion at the health unit. She said offering a living wage to employees can also benefit the employer. (Meg Roberts/CBC)

“We absolutely think that employers should value a living wage, that they should pay their employees a living wage. It allows folks to not worry about where they’re going to get their next meal,” said Dupuis.

Dupuis said offering the living wage also has benefits for employers and is good for the economy.

“There are other factors it can have for employers too. Improved attendance, improved loyalty. When we have healthy employees that’s better for everyone,” she said.

For workers whose employers do provide health benefits, the living wage is $13.58 an hour.

The living wage gets adjusted every year.​

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