You need to make at least $46,186 a year to ‘thrive’ in Toronto, says report

By: Dominic Licorish on October 3, 2017

Do you feel like you’re actually being paid enough to build a better future for yourself? According to a new study, if live in Toronto and you’re making less than $46,186 a year — after taxes — you probably aren’t.

The Wellesley Institute released Thriving in the City: What does it cost to live a healthy life?, a new report on the “cost of thriving” in the Greater Toronto Area. Spearheaded by University of Toronto alum Nishi Kumar, the study draws attention to the need for social policy to start looking at how Canadians can have a good life, not just an adequate one.

The report concludes that a person aged 25 to 40 years old needs to earn between $46,186 and $55,432 after tax to thrive. That’s a roughly $57,000 to $70,000 salary before taxes.

Thriving in this study is defined as “meeting their basic material needs, enabling connections to community and family, supporting educational and professional advancement, and ensuring long-term financial security.”

The numbers highlight just how expensive Toronto has become, especially for young people. Even those with university education are, on average, finding themselves with entry-level jobs that offer salaries below $40,000 a year. It’s no surprise that nearly half of those aged 20-34 live with their parents in the city.

It’s also important that those earning minimum wage are nowhere close to thriving — after taxes, a minimum wage earner takes home about $20,000 in Ontario.

The report goes into a detailed breakdown of how the cost of thriving was calculated and what assumptions have been made. Keep in mind that it’s describing the amount of money needed not just to live, but to live comfortably while having the stability to save and invest in your future.

Should people have the right to a better quality of living in Toronto? Is minimum wage enough or are there other programs that can help Torontonians meet the higher cost of thriving in the city?

The report does not provide the answers.  Raising incomes can be one solution, but it can also be met through public services, employer-sponsored benefits, community facilities, and social programs.