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What is considered low income in Edmonton, Alberta? 

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Interested in what the lower-paid portion of Edmonton’s workforce earns? Today, we’ll give you an overview of Edmonton’s poverty threshold, living wage, and the benefits a low-income earner can receive. 

What is considered low income in Edmonton?

According to Edmonton Community Foundation, a single individual in Edmonton, Alberta, earning less than $21,481 a year is considered a low-income earner. 

On the other hand, a household with an accumulated income of less than 50% of the median household income or below $40,614 a year is considered a low-income household. 

What is the poverty threshold in Edmonton, Alberta? 

The poverty threshold in Edmonton, Alberta is $22,060 for a single person. It becomes $26,849 for a two-person family and $41,710 for a four-person family. 

For more estimates based on the number of persons in the family, here are the poverty thresholds in Edmonton based on Statistics Canada’s Low Income Cut-off (LICO) in 2020

Family SizeLICO (after tax)
1 person$22,060
2 persons$26,849
3 persons$33,433
4 persons$41,710
5 persons$47,495
6 persons$52,673
7 persons or more$57,852

Note that LICO (after tax) is the income threshold below the amount a person/family must allot to the average costs of living, which includes food, shelter, clothing, and other necessary expenses. 

According to Edmonton Community Foundation, at least 1 out of 10 or 119,950 people in the city are experiencing poverty. It means that 11.9% of residents in the city earn $15 per hour (minimum wage) or less. 

This is evidently lower than the average living wage, which is $21.40 per hour. 

For example, if you’re a deck builder earning a minimum wage and working full time (or around 37.5 hours per week), you can only earn around $562.5 per week. 

What benefits or financial assistance can a low-income earner receive in Edmonton, Alberta? 

What benefits or financial assistance can a low-income earner receive in Edmonton, Alberta
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons 

Low-income earners and families in Edmonton, Alberta, can receive a number of benefits and subsidies from the government. Here are some of them. 

1. Child Health Benefits• Children under 18 years old or between 18 and 20 years old living at parent’s home

• Must be attending school

• Must not be receiving other forms of government health benefits

• Prescription drugs

Dental services

Optical services

• Diabetic supplies

• Ambulance services

2. Adult Health Benefits• Low-income earner or pregnant adult with high ongoing prescription needs• Prescription drugs

• Dental services

• Optical services

• Diabetic supplies

• Ambulance services

3. Childcare subsidy• Children 12 years old or below or not yet in grade 7

• Must be enrolled in a licensed childcare program or daycare

• Parents must be working (but low-income earner), looking for work, or have special needs or still attending school

• Subsidy for childcare costs
4. Income Support• People who can’t work due to chronic health problems, chronic health issues, or other barriers to full employment

• Working but income is not enough to cover basic living needs

• People in need of training to get a job

• Subsidy for basic need including food, clothing, and shelter

• Monthly benefits based on applicant’s needs, financial resources, family size, and ability to work

• Assistance in obtaining child support and help with job hunting

5. Alberta Student Aid• Student in Alberta with financial living needs

• Must meet the academic and residency requirements

• Loans, scholarships, or grants for eligible programs at post-secondary institutions

(Note that grants don’t need to be repaid)

6. Emergency Financial Assistance• Current income support clients

• Working Albertan with low income and can’t afford one-time or short-term emergency costs

• Food and clothing

• Childcare support

• Transportation

• Damage deposit

• Temporary accommodation

• Utility arrears and eviction payments

7. Leisure Access Program• Low-income earner person living in Edmonton

• Recipient of Government of Alberta Income Support, Learner’s Income Support, or Foundational Learning Assistance

• New permanent resident in Edmonton or a refugee

• Children under government care

• Recipient of Canda pension Plan - Disability Benefit

• Access to the city of Edmonton’s recreation, attraction, and leisure facilities

• Free annual pass or subsidized monthly pass

• Discount for classes or lessons offered through movelearnplay website

8. KidSport Edmonton• Children living in a low-income household• Funds (up to 50% of the costs) for registration on sports programs
9. YMCA Financial Assistance• Low-income earners or low-income families• Discounted YMCA membership and programs

• Discounted access to fitness, childcare, aquatics, and camps

10. Jump Start• Children 4 to 18 years old living in a low-income household• Financial support and individual grants to participate in a sport or physical activity

How much is the average living wage in Edmonton, Alberta? 

The average living wage in Edmonton in 2022 is $21.40 per hour, based on the Alberta Living Wage Network‘s report. This is the hourly pay rate that allows a person to have a higher standard of living than the typical poverty threshold in Edmonton.

Unfortunately, the current livable wage in the city is nowhere near close to the current minimum wage ($15 per hour) implemented throughout the province. 

Note that the living wage estimated by the Alberta Living Wage Network includes basic living costs, taxes, child care, education, and other unexpected costs. Besides that, the living wage can vary across the communities in Edmonton. 

How much do you need to earn to live comfortably in Edmonton, Alberta? 

How much do you need to earn to live comfortably in Edmonton, Alberta
Image Source: Unsplash 

To live comfortably in Edmonton, you currently need around $2,778.85 per month or at least $33,346.2 per year. This is based on monthly costs that include $931 for rent per month.

The table below shows the estimated expenses of a single individual living comfortably in Edmonton. Aside from the basic living expenses, we also included costs for entertainment, health and fitness, savings, and debt payment.

Living ExpensesMonthly Costs
House Rent (1-bedroom apartment)$931
Rent Insurance$28
Phone and Internet$165
Transportation (includes daily bus ride and occasional taxi service)$141.25
Dining Out$250
Miscellaneous Spending$100
Health and Fitness (includes gym/ fitness group membership, health insurance, and doctor’s visit)$101
Debt Repayment (includes student loan, car loan, credit card payments, etc.)$275

Of course, this is just an estimate, and it can still go higher or lower depending on your living requirements and preferences.