Here's an article that appeared in the papers about what a living wage is and what it could cover and what it could not cover for a working person.
Mon Dec 12 2011
City eyes living wage for workers
The city is moving closer to paying its employees a living wage — not a minimum wage.
City staff are investigating how much it would cost to pay its employees $14.95 per hour rather than $10.25 per hour. They will be coming back to council in mid-2012 with a report outlining several options for paying city staff — including boards and agencies such as police, library and HECFI staff — a living wage.
Anti-poverty advocates told council Monday that 30,000 workers in Hamilton are employed, but still live in poverty.
A living wage in Hamilton allows for necessities such as food, shelter, utilities, childcare, medical and dental costs and transportation. It also includes allowances for other items such as Internet service, occasional social outings and an annual modest vacation in Ontario.
http://www.thespec.com/news/local/artic ... or-workers
http://sprc.hamilton.on.ca/Reports/pdf/ ... Report.pdf You should advance to section 12, page 8 of the pdf, to see living wage calculations for other cities in Canada.
Finally located the article I had wanted to post first:
http://www.thespec.com/opinion/columns/ ... -community
Living wage policies have been in place since the mid 1990s and are now in some 140 municipalities and counties in the U.S., including Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. In London, U.K., more than 115 firms have committed to pay a living wage. In British Columbia, the New Westminster city council adopted a living wage policy this year for all municipal and contracted service staff. Esquimalt, B.C., has also adopted a Living Wage policy. If Hamilton adopted a Living Wage, we wouldn’t be the first municipality in Canada, but we’d be the first big city in Canada to have such a policy.
Although living wage policies vary in terms of the wage and who is covered, there is clear evidence from these policies in the U.S. and elsewhere of the benefits and costs of a living wage.
For example, the costs of New Westminster’s living wage policy are estimated to be less than a quarter of 1 per cent of the city budget. A survey of 20 cities with living wage policies in the U.S. found costs tend to be less than one-tenth of 1 per cent of city budgets. Since the costs of a living wage are usually only a small part of the total costs of doing business, the cost impact is usually modest or negligible. Several studies conclude that where living wage policies are applied to city contracts, the costs of the contracts did not rise much, and sometimes declined. Contract bidding remained competitive or improved. Living wages can also lead to more efficient provision of public services.