Living wage in major Manitoba centers higher than planned new minimum wage: report

New data from the Manitoba office of the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) shows that while the province plans to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next two years, more could still be done.

The CCPA has calculated what it thinks is the living wage for families of four in Winnipeg, Brandon and Thompson.

The family of four would be a two-income household that has two young children.

To calculate living wage spending, the CCPA used data up to January 2022 and did not include any government transfer changes or cost of living increases after December 31, 2021.


In Winnipeg, the CCPA says a family of four would need a wage of $18.34 an hour, which is the highest of the three cities on the list.

The organization said the number was higher due to the rising cost of renting an apartment.

The CCPA said the average housing cost is $1,733, while an average monthly food bill would be $930.

The data also includes child care costs, transportation, a provident fund, health and dental insurance, clothing, telephone, internet and household expenses, and student loans for parents.

Data does not cover debt and interest payments, saving for retirement, owning a home, saving for children’s education, recreational events, caring for sick family members or disabled and emergency expenses.

“Winnipeg’s living wage is up 14% in Winnipeg over the 2020 figure,” said Niall Harney, Errol Black Chair in Labor Issues for the CCPA.

“A lot of that is due to rising rents. So rents are going up the most of all the basics that families have to pay. But transportation costs are also going up, food costs are going up and all that contributes to household expenses that are put on the backs of workers and ultimately result in higher wages needed to pay for these expenses.

Harney notes that raising the minimum wage over the next two years is a good step in Manitoba and shows the government understands the importance of a living wage.

He said if the government did not want to raise wages to $18.34 an hour, as the data shows, it could take other measures.

“These include government and public services, like low-cost universal child care, cheap public transport, recreation services. All of this reduces the costs that families have to pay to meet their basic needs. »

He added that other government grants could also help reduce costs for families.


The city of Brandon had the lowest salary needed according to the CCPA. He said a family of four would need $28,501 per year or $15.66 per month.

Housing was again the highest cost at $1,423, followed by phone, internet and household expenses at $956.

The food was listed at $898.

Many of the other expenses were similar to what was needed in Winnipeg.


Thompson was a little higher than Brandon at $16.25 per hour, which gives a total of $29,575 per year.

Housing was the cheapest of the three cities at $1,233, while food prices were the same as Brandon.

However, Thompson had the highest category for phone, internet and household expenses at $1,344.

Clothing was also more expensive than in other cities at $233.

The CCPA said all of these figures are based on “rudimentary budgets” and do not include the prices of things they say people take for granted.

Michael A. Bynum