Food for Thought Blog

The Food Bank of Waterloo Region Encourages Ontario to Enact Living Wage for Residents Across the Province

November 4th, 2021In the News


WATERLOO, ON | NOVEMBER 3, 2021 – In the wake of the recent announcement to increase Ontario’s minimum wage by January 1, 2022, The Food Bank of Waterloo Region is urging Ontario to implement a living wage for workers across the province. A living wage includes the costs required in order to cover your basic needs, including food and shelter – which range anywhere from $22.08/hour to $16.20/hour depending on the region. The proposed minimum wage hike of $15/hour falls far short of what an Ontarian resident needs to meet their day-to-day financial obligations.

“We appreciate that the provincial government is looking to make life more affordable for Ontarians,” says Wendi Campbell, CEO of The Food Bank of Waterloo Region. “However, what workers really need is a living wage and access to health benefits, which are extremely important given the health threats we have been facing over the course of the pandemic.”

The Ontario Living Wage Network (OLWN) recently released a report detailing how much money people would need to make for a basic lifestyle across 23 regions. In Waterloo, that number equates to $17.20/hour, a figure that is well above the proposed minimum wage hike.

“The proposed minimum wage hike is a good start, but it will not move the needle on ensuring economic security for our citizens,” said Campbell. “We need a more holistic approach to tackling socio-economic issues facing our region.”

In addition, The Food Bank is calling for increased measures to tackle the insecurities in the labour market as a result of the pandemic. Various industries including retail, hospitality, manufacturing, construction and long-term care have been hit hard by labour shortages. Workers in these industries are often precariously employed, working fluctuating hours with no benefits. This contributes to economic insecurity, which has ripple effects on the entire community.

“We have an opportunity to learn from the pandemic and implement measures that will ensure Ontarians aren’t just earning enough to survive. We need to seize this opportunity and enact actionable policy changes that ensure no one is left behind.”

The Food Bank is a registered charitable organization. Learn more at:


Founded in 1984, The Food Bank of Waterloo Region (The Food Bank) was the first organization of its kind in Ontario dedicated to providing emergency food. Thirty-five years after incorporation, The Food Bank continues to evolve to meet the needs of the community, ensuring no one goes hungry. The Food Bank acquires and distributes more than 5 million pounds of fresh, frozen, and non-perishable food to 100+ community programs and agency partners throughout Waterloo Region.

For media inquiries, please contact:
Wemimo Onikan
Durrell Communications