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

Four air ambulance flights out of Terrace delayed or cancelled

Pandemic precautions caused nighttime closure of service station providing weather data to pilots

Skeena Resources, Tahltan prez excited by purchase of Eskay Creek

Skeena gets full control of mine, Barrick gets 12 per cent of Skeena and a one per cent royalty

UPDATE: missing 12-year-old Terrace boy found safe

Was reported missing on Southside around 10 p.m. July 9

Terrace conservation officers relocate Spirit bear

Bear roamed Kitsumkalum Valley north of Terrace for many years

Seabridge Gold starts drilling along proposed tunnel route north of Stewart

Twin tunnels will connect the KSM mine to its mill and tailings site

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

BREAKING: Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

Northern B.C. First Nations call for reversal of grizzly bear hunting ban

Growing grizzly populations have led to fewer ungulates and increased fear of attacks says Chad Day

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

‘Made in the Cowichan Valley’ coming to a wine bottle near you

Cowichan Valley has the honour of being the first sub-GI outside of the Okanagan

Most Read