Earlier this month, Alberta Living Wage Network published their Alberta Living Wage Report for November 2021.
Here’s a list of the living wage for various municipalities mentioned in the report:
|Rocky Mountain House||$18.05|
When calculating the living wage, Alberta Living Wage Network takes into account the cost of various goods in the following 10 areas for a family of four:
- Clothing and footwear
- Other school fees
- Other household costs
- Contingency fund
Here are the total expenses for each community:
|Rocky Mountain House||$76,019|
Then they add up all of the following benefits the family of four in these communities might receive from the federal and provincial governments:
- GST Credit
- Canada Child Benefit
- CCB Young Child Supplement
- Climate Action Incentive
- Alberta Child Care Subsidy
- Alberta Child and Family Benefit
And here’s how these benefits total up for each community:
|Rocky Mountain House||$27,011|
I find it interesting that Lethbridge and Rocky Mountain House both have the highest amounts of potential government benefits, especially given that in the previous table, they had the two lowest amounts for expenses.
Finally, Alberta Living Wage Network considers taxes and deductions when calculating the living wage.
Among the 10 expense categories, 3 of them accounted for the bulk of the expenses: childcare, food, and shelter. For example, ALWN calculated annual childcare expenses in Calgary to be $20,639, shelter to be $19,909, and food to be $14,285.
That’s 67.7% of all expenses.
Here’s how the various communities compare for expenses:
|Food||Shelter||Childcare||Combined||% of total|
|Rocky Mountain House||$13,803||$17,785||$17,475||$49,063||64.5%|
One thing that Alberta Living Wage Network pointed out is that a family of four living in Lethbridge and Rocky Mountain House could live on $15 an hour, but only if they could access all 6 of the benefits they listed and both parents were working full time.
However, a single person, according to the ALWN’s calculations, would qualify for just two of those government benefits: GST credit and the federal Climate Action Incentive. Even then, the amounts they’d qualify would be significantly less than what a family of four would receive.
They calculated a living wage for a single individual at $21.20 working in Lethbridge and $19.75 for that same individual working in Rocky Mountain House.
Then they figured out a weighted average of the two wages (single individual and a family of four) to determine the general living wage for the two communities: $19.00 for Lethbridge and $18.05 for Rocky Mountain House.