Living Wage Employer: St. Catharines Becomes Last in Ontario

The City of St. Catharines is the largest and last municipality in Ontario to be designated a Living Wage Employer of Record.

In doing so, the city has committed to paying a living wage to all full-time employees. They also said they would extend this promise to part-time employees and develop a sourcing policy for third-party contractors by December 2024.

The living wage is defined as the hourly rate necessary to cover the real costs of living in a community, unlike the minimum wage, which is the lowest hourly rate an employer is legally allowed to pay a worker.

According Ontario Living Wage Network (OLWN) data published in November 2021, a living wage for the Niagara region is estimated at $18.90 per hour.

Staff from the OLWN and the Niagara Poverty Reduction Network joined the St. Catharines City Council Meeting Monday Night to make the announcement.

“We hope this will only continue the growth of paid work in the region and that we will continue to see more and more employers engaging in the years to come,” said Lori Kleinsmith, Niagara Poverty Reduction Network , during a meeting. .

“This is our largest employer in terms of the number of people who work for the City of St. Catharines,” she said.

Councilman Greg Miller also announced the designation on social media on Monday, thanking staff for “going through the process.”

“The City of St. Catharines is now a Certified Living Wage Employer,” Miller wrote.

“We are now the largest certified living wage employer in Niagara and the largest certified municipality in Ontario. »

In February 2021, St. Catharines Council voted unanimously to apply to become a Living Wage Employer through OLWN.


St. Catharines is one of 23 areas for which the Ontario Living Wage Network has calculated a living wage.

The Ontario Living Wage Network developed the calculation method in conjunction with the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives offices in British Columbia and Ontario, which were responsible for creating the standardized National Living Wage Framework.

In Toronto, they set the living wage at $22.08 an hour starting in November 2021, the highest in Ontario.

The region with the lowest calculated living wage is Sault Sainte Marie at $16.20 per hour.

To see all the living wages calculated by OLWN, see the interactive map below.

Michael A. Bynum