Yellowknife's 'living wage' is around $20 an hour, says report

Workers in Yellowknife would need to be paid about $20 an hour full-time to cover basic living expenses, according to an Alberta-based consultant.

Single parents would need to earn about $25/hour to get by, social justice coalition says

Workers in Yellowknife would need to be paid about $20 an hour to earn a "living wage," according to an Alberta-based consultant.

Michel Haener wrote a report for Alternatives North, a Yellowknife-based social justice coalition.

She says for a two-parent family living in Yellowknife with one child in school and one in daycare, each parent would need to have a full-time job paying $20.68 per hour to earn a living wage. That works out to an annual gross household income of $86,029.

The living wage for a single adult would be $19.91, and for a lone parent it would be $25.81.

The minimum wage in the Northwest Territories is $12.50.

Haener says the calculation of expenses was based on basic, cost-of-living expenditures.

"We allocated money for shelter, child care and food, but also for other essentials such as a phone and a small budget for recreation and gifts," says Haener.

"The budget is very modest."

Alternatives North says the benefits of a living wage are improved staff retention, productivity, and goodwill in the community.

Not all experts agree. A 2014 report by the Fraser Institute said mandating a wage above the prevailing market rate means "fewer jobs and hours become available and it is usually the people who are less skilled who are most adversely affected."