Aerial view of Nanaimo, B.C. (Wikimedia Commons)

B.C.’s living wage increase curbed due to MSP cuts, child care subsidy: report

Living wage varies between $16.51 in north central B.C. to $20.91 in Metro Vancouver

The cost of a raising a family in B.C. has gone up this year, but advocates say it would have been higher if not for reductions in health care and child care costs.

In its latest report, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) states that the living wage varies between $16.51 for those in north central B.C. to $20.91 in Metro Vancouver.

The living wage represents the hourly wage that two working parents with two young children must earn to meet their basic expenses including rent, child care, food and transportation, with calculations including the costs for government taxes, credits, deductions and subsidies have been taken into account.

READ MORE: Vancouver adopts $20 living wage for city employees, police

READ MORE: West Kelowna store adopts living wage

Keeping in trend with last year, child care and housing costs continue to be the two biggest costs in the living wage calculation, according to the annual report released Wednesday. The report is published in partnership with First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition and the Living Wage for Families Campaign.

Living wages vary in cities across B.C.
Infogram

Co-author and CCPA senior economist Iglika Ivanova said that while a wage of $20/hr seems high, that’s based on a bare-bones budget for a family of four in Metro Vancouver.

“There’s a big gap between the wages many of our neighbours earn and the real costs of raising a family,” she said.

“About 32 per cent of Metro Vancouver two-parent families with two children had incomes less than the living wage according to the most-recent Statistics Canada data available.”

The report says that family costs would have been even higher if it wasn’t for the NDP government’s slash to MSP premiums and the new child care subsidy that can mean savings of $900 this year for parents with children aged three to five.

Housing trends share heavy weight in living wage needs

While Metro Vancouver’s living wage saw the slight increase of 30 cents, other regions hit by the the affordable housing crisis saw more staggering increases, according to the CCPA calculations.

In the Fraser Valley, where housing has now also reached benchmark prices of above $1 million, as well as a less-than-1 per cent rental rate, the living wage is now $17.40, up from $15.90. That’s the biggest jump in recent living wage calculations.

On Vancouver Island, Victoria’s 2018 living wage is $20.50, a 49-cent increase from $20.01 in years prior.

That’s compared to the Comox Valley, where the CCPA report says the living wage is $16.59.

In Kamloops, $17.31 is the new living wage standard, up from $16.90.

Revelstoke costs calculate to the highest necessary wage for a tourism-based community, at $19.37.

Minimum wage set to reach $15.20 by 2020, NDP says

About 110 employers across B.C. are paying employees a living wage, according to the Living Wage for Families Campaign.

That includes 11 municipalities, Huu-ay-aht First Nations and the United Way of the Lower Mainland.

Mark Thompson, a retired Sauder School of Business professor, said the living wage has for a long time served as a calculation that gives those in the labour market a way to place upward pressure on their employers and government to increase wages.

“It’s a statement of social policy, really,” he said.

READ MORE: B.C. to increase minimum wage to $15.20/hour in 2021

While it doesn’t have a huge effect on immediate changes, he said, it can offer municipalities a standard when introducing its own living wage for staff and employees and set an example for other employers.

For the rest of the working class in the province, minimum wage stands at $11.35 and is set to increase to $12.65 on June 1.

“The province is moving in that direction, considering minimum wage was essentially frozen for about a decade.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Haitian foster children arrive in Nelson after months-long lobbying effort

Marie-Paule Brisson and Sebastien De Marre have parented girls age 12 and 8 since they were babies

Nelson hospice starts Walk and Talk group in Lakeside Park

The Walk and Talk Grief Group is offered free to anyone grieving the death of a loved one

From baseball stars to forest fires: Southeast Fire Centre water bomber has an interesting past

Tanker 489 is stationed in Castlegar this year, but in the 1960s it belonged to the L.A. Dodgers.

RDCK to implement new emergency alert notification system

System also includes sends alerts for water advisories

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

Trudeau apologizes for not recusing himself from WE decision

He says his and his family’s longtime involvement with the WE organization should have kept him out of the discussions

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

New comet appears in pre-dawn sky above Cranbrook

Neowise can be seen without a telescope over the next couple of weeks

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Washington’s NFL team drops ‘Redskins’ name after 87 years

The franchise was given the name back in 1933, when it was still in Boston

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Most Read