Annual Living Wage Calculation

Calgary's 2021 Living Wage hourly rate is $18.60

1 November 2021

Vibrant Communities Calgary has been updating the living wage figure for Calgary on an annual basis since 2008 as a resource for policy makers and employers. The living wage is a proxy for the cost of living in Calgary and is determined by calculating average expenses using local costs, subtracting taxes, and adding government transfers for a given household.

The cost of living has gone up substantially in Calgary since 2018. In 2018, a family of four living in Calgary required an annual income of $66,796.89 to achieve a modest standard of living. This entails enough income to meet their basic needs, cover bank fees, training, internet costs, and the ability to save for an unexpected event.

In 2021, a family of four needs an annual income of $81,293.20 to achieve the same standard of living. Government transfers in 2018 such as the increase in the G.S.T. credit, Canada Child Benefit, and Alberta Climate Rebate contributed to the family’s income to such an extent that the living wage was $16.45/hr, and not much more than the minimum wage for adults at $15.00/hr. While benefits changed with a new Alberta government in 2019, in July 2021 the Government of Alberta announced they have expanded the income eligibility cut-off for the childcare subsidy, offsetting a substantial increase to the living wage for 2021. It’s important to note that while the reference family of four meets the income eligibility requirement for the childcare subsidy, they would also have to secure a spot at a licensed daycare facility, and it is unclear if there are enough spots for all eligible Alberta families.

Calgary's 2021 living wage is $18.60 per hour. Click here for the full 2021 living wage analysis.

The Living wage Alberta network has launched! Click here to see the living wage rate for all participating municipalities.