Since 2008, Vibrant Communities Calgary (VCC) has been updating the living wage figure for Calgary on an annual basis. The framework for calculating a living wage is adopted from the Living Wage National Framework created by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
Income from employment that is sufficient to cover the cost of living in a given region is not only vital to reducing poverty but is a necessary component to a resilient city and economy. People need more than the bare minimum, this includes enough income to cover bank fees, education and training, internet costs, and the ability to save for an unexpected event. Other principles identified by Living Wage Canada include a wage that enables working families to have sufficient income to cover reasonable costs, promote social inclusion, and support healthy child development.
Working in collaboration with other municipalities, VCC has adopted the new standardized methodology to calculate the living wage rate for Calgary. The 2021 living wage is $18.60 per hour, a 10% decrease from the 2020 living wage of $20.69, and a difference of 24% from Alberta’s minimum wage of $15 per hour. The primary reason for the decrease in the living wage is attributed to changes made by the provincial government to Alberta’s childcare subsidy program.