The Niagara Poverty Reduction Network (NPRN) recently announced that the 2021 hourly living wage calculation for Niagara region is established to be $18.90/hour. The living wage was last calculated in 2019 at $18.12, so this represents an hourly increase of $0.78 over a two-year period.

As part of National Living Wage Week, the NPRN released two new reports, “Calculating the Cost of Living in Niagara Region, 2021” and “Calculating the Living Wage for Niagara Region, 2021”. These reports outline the methodology used, and they are available at

A living wage reflects what earners in a household need to be paid based on the actual costs of living and being included in a specific community. A living wage is not the same as the legislated minimum wage. It is a voluntary commitment that employers can make to compensate directly-employed and contract-employed full-time and part-time workers.

The methodology used to produce the cost of living and living wage calculations comes from the Ontario Living Wage Network (OLWN). This provides consistency across the 29 regions in Ontario with a calculated living wage rate. For 2021, the OLWN updated its methodology to reflect a weighted average approach to calculating the living wage.

As in previous years, cost of living expenses that workers face such as rent, transportation, childcare, food, internet, recreation, and clothing are calculated. Applicable government taxes, transfers, and benefits are then factored in to calculate the living wage rate needed to meet
cost of living expenses.

As Ontario begins to emerge from the pandemic, living wage rates are evolving to reflect current realities and new government benefits. For 2021's calculation the OLWN moved to an aggregated family model to better represent what kind of expenses to include, as well as a weighted average of the living wage rate based on census data of three different reference families: a family of four with two adults each aged 35, a 7-year old boy and a 3-year old girl; a single-parent family with one 35-year-old female and a 7-year old boy; and a single male adult age 35.

The NPRN remains committed to promoting the Ontario Living Wage Network’s provincial living wage employer certification program. To date, 64 employers from across Niagara region have become living wage certified. This is up from 43 certified employers a year ago. To view the full list of certified Niagara employers, visit the NPRN website and its new living wage employer directory . For more information on the OLWN’s living wage employer certification program, visit

Lori Kleinsmith
Niagara Poverty Reduction Network (NPRN) Coordinating Committee

Both reports are posted as Resources on the NKE.

Access them by clicking here:
Calculating the Cost of Living in Niagara Region, 2021
Calculating the Living Wage for Niagara Region, 2021

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