City of Waterloo is a Living Wage Champion

Posted On Thursday August 24, 2023

The City of Waterloo is pleased to announce that we have been certified as an Ontario Living Wage Employer. A living wage is what individuals need to earn to cover the actual costs of living in their community. The City of Waterloo has been certified at the champion level: all full-time, part-time and contract staff earn at least a living wage. The lowest hourly wage for city staff is currently $19.95, which reflects the living wage rate as calculated annually by the Ontario Living Wage Network for our region.

The process to ensure that all City of Waterloo staff earn at least a living wage began with council discussion in 2019, and in July 2020 Human Resources staff began to phase in wage adjustments to increase hourly payments from minimum wage to the living wage rate. The full living wage rates were incorporated into the 2023 budget approved by the current council.

“With the rising costs of housing, food and other necessities, we’re very proud to certify as a Living Wage Employer Champion, the highest level,” says City of Waterloo Mayor Dorothy McCabe. “By requiring our contractors to also pay a living wage, we’re improving access to a living wage for as many people as possible, and supporting the community as we work to achieve a high quality of life for all residents.”

 “At United Way Waterloo Region Communities, it is our mission to fight poverty. Over the past few years there has been a significant increase in the number of people working full-time yet struggling to pay for essential basic needs like food and housing. Across the country, United Way advocates for living wages and we are thrilled to see the City of Waterloo demonstrating the leadership required to support a healthy and thriving community here locally,” says Joan Fisk, CEO, United Way Waterloo Region Communities.

The wage increase positively impacts casual and part-time staff at the city; there was no associated increase to salaried/full-time staff who already benefit from wages exceeding the calculated living wage. The requirement that contractors meet the living wage requirement will be phased-in through the city’s procurement process as new contracts are awarded.

The Ontario Living Wage Network conducts standardized local living wage calculations and maintains a directory of certified employers. Learn more at


Media contact:

Cari Van Niekerk
Director, Corporate Communications