May 15, 2018, Calgary, AB – Vibrant Communities Calgary (VCC) is pleased to be releasing the latest living wage rate for Calgary. Calgary’s Living Wage Initiative adheres to the National Living Wage Framework, including calculation, and is a member of Living Wage Canada (

The framework seeks to determine what a Calgary-based family of four; two working parents with two children, ages four and seven, would need to earn to live a modest quality of life.  The seven-year-old attends public school, while the four-year-old attends childcare full-time. They rent a two-bedroom home.  It takes into consideration the costs of meeting basic needs (shelter, food, clothing and transportation) plus expenditures that provide the family with opportunities for social participation, minimal asset-building and unexpected expenses. Income is accrued through employment earnings and non-employment earnings (government transfers). A living wage is the employment earnings portion of the calculation; the minimum amount each working parent needs to earn, working full-time for the full year, which, in addition to provincial and federal government benefits, will allow them to meet all of the expenses identified in the calculator. Participating cities do have some discretion concerning the allocated expenses, where adaptations are made based on the average experiences of residents.

The 2018 Living Wage for Calgary is $16.45.  This number is down by $0.75 from the 2017 Living Wage for Calgary. However, it is important to note that VCC has recently changed the methodology used to calculate the living wage for 2018 to include a claim of child care expenses. The calculation for 2018 led to two key findings;

  • Applying the new methodology to the Living Wage for 2017 allows us to have an apples to apples comparison. The revised 2017 Living Wage is $17.20, reflecting a decrease of only $0.75 from 2017 to 2018.
  • Tax filing is critical for families to meet the cost of living in Calgary. Non-employment earnings, namely government transfers, received by the prototypical family receiving the Living Wage increased annually by $1,394 (from $11,270 in 2017 to $12,664 in 2018).

The living wage is a voluntary hourly rate that has a far greater likelihood of ensuring a family can live a life out of poverty. A living wage is different than the provincial minimum wage. The minimum wage is a legislated minimum hourly rate that an employer must pay an employee, and assumes no additional taxable benefits are provided by an employer.

“The living wage calculator may, in fact, be the most accurate calculation for the cost of living in Calgary”, says Franco Savoia, Executive Director of Vibrant Communities Calgary.

For additional information, please read the 2018 Living Wage Report:


About Vibrant Communities Calgary
Vibrant Communities Calgary (VCC) is a non-profit organization that works collaboratively with various stakeholders, seeking to engage Calgarians to advocate for long-term strategies that address the root causes of poverty in Calgary. VCC is also the steward of Enough for All, Calgary’s poverty reduction strategy. For more information, please visit and


For more information, please contact:

Stephanie Rosch
Communications and Engagement Specialist
Vibrant Communities Calgary
Phone: 403-283-2193


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