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.

Just Posted

Qualicum Beach ‘Seniors Scene’ columnist remembered

Roy Jones described as caring father, energetic seniors’ centre member

Councillor has concerns about Qualicum Beach pot shop decision

Debate over location, public consultation and timing continues, though commitment already made

Oceanside RCMP arrest man wanted on several outstanding warrants

Hudson David Klassen, 26, picked up in Parksville

Strong winds up to 100 km/h for parts of Vancouver Island

Wind warning in effect for north, east and west Vancouver Island into Saturday morning

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

B.C. woman planned to donate a kidney to her husband, then found out she has cancer

Richard Stuart needs a kidney, his wife Tracy has been diagnosed with cancer

RECALL: Salmon Village maple salmon nuggets

Customers warned not to eat product due to possible Listeria contamination

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Most Read