September 25, 2022

When we graduate high school, most dream of seeking a higher level of education to discover themselves and achieve their dream jobs. But for some, this type of education is not possible, resulting in them seeking either part-time or full-time employment that pays only minimum wage.

On April 5, the Ontario government announced that the minimum wage will increase to $15.50 per hour from $15 per hour beginning Oct. 1, the third increase in over a year.

On Jan. 1, the Ontario government, reacting to the pandemic, increased the minimum wage to $15 per hour from $14.35 per hour. A year prior to this announcement, the government also issued a temporary wage increase for front line workers.

According to the Ontario Government website, this increase was put into place in the following professions:

  • $3 per hour for workers in house and community care
  • $3 per hour for workers in long-term care
  • $2 per hour for workers in public hospitals
  • $3 per hour for workers working with children, community, and social services

This increase was also extended to anyone working in retail such as restaurants and grocery stores for both part-time and full-time personnel by $2.

However, as the increases in housing and living expenses continue to rise, working permanently as a full-time employee in a retail setting is not enough for an individual to afford a place to live on their own.

According to Cube Toronto, the average monthly living cost for a single person, excluding rent, is $1,125 in Ontario.

An article written on the Storeys website, says if an individual is living in the Greater Toronto Area, they will have to make approximately $50,000 a year to afford a place to live on their own, excluding any costs for internet, transportation, groceries, etc, whereas a full-time employee working minimum wage only makes $14,924, suggesting the individual will have to work multiple jobs in order to afford a place to live on their own.

WageHoursPayment (Bi-weekly)Total Income Per Year
$14.354026$29,848
$154026$31,200
$15.504026$32,240
$164026$33,280
$16.504026$34,320
$174026$35,360
$17.504026$36,400
Table demonstrating the various minimum-wage increases and total income per year. (Fayth Paul/Spoke Online)

This suggests that an individual will have to make approximately more than $17 per hour in order to afford a place to live on their own. The current minimum wage in not enough if a full-time job and a minimum wage pay is the only type of job an individual can find.

As a part-time student myself, I can relate to these struggles and concerns. Thinking about a future where I may not be able to afford a home is something that is a constant question in my mind.

Additional questions include whether or not the housing market will eventually go down, or if I will have to seek another level of education in order to produce enough money to have a place to live, which in most cases, could also leave me with more debt if I have to take out any type of loans to put me through school.

An issue like this needs to be looked at more and it is something that will be a constant concern for future generations.

It is something that needs to be fixed.

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