The Intersection Between Living Wage and Minimum Wage

Podcast with Trish Hennessy and Adam Vasey

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The minimum wage is the hourly rate legislated for all workers, the bare minimum a worker can earn. And it often gets confused in public discussions around living wage, a wage that reflects what earners need to bring home based on the actual costs of living in a specific community. In this podcast, Trish Hennessy, of CCPA-Ontario, and Adam Vasey, of Pathway to Potential, discuss the intersection between the living wage and the minimum wage. Led by Leilani Farha, of Canada Without Poverty, Trish and Adam talk about the persistent confusion that exists between the living wage and minimum wage as well as how to frame the living wage conversation in a way that resonates with the greater community.

Additional resources:

About the speakers:

Trish Hennessy is the founding director of the new Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives' (CCPA) Ontario office. She was the founding director of the CCPA's national project examining income inequality in Canada, which began in 2006, and is an ongoing contributor to the growing gap team. Her blog, examines how we talk about the challenges of our times. Her monthly Hennessy's Index ( takes a snapshot of key issues and breaks them down by the numbers. Trish is a former newspaper journalist. She has a B.A. Sociology from Queen's University, B.S.W. from Carleton University, and M.A. in Sociology from OISE/University of Toronto.

As Director of Pathway to Potential since 2009, Adam Vasey has been responsible for the development of a collaborative, multi-sector strategy for the prevention and reduction of poverty in Windsor-Essex County. This position, which draws on his training in law and social work, has allowed Adam to fulfill his long-time commitment to social justice. Through this work, he sits on numerous local, provincial and national poverty-related committees. Prior to joining Pathway to Potential, Adam worked in the field of children’s mental health. Adam has volunteered for numerous local agencies and organizations, including Citizen Advocacy, the Alzheimer’s Society, and the Ontario Association of Social Workers. Adam received the 2012 “Distinguished Social Worker of the Year” award through the Ontario Association of Social Workers – Southwestern Branch, and in July 2013 the provincial government appointed him to Minimum Wage Advisory Panel.