1-250-409-7011 cvced@rdek.bc.ca

Living Wage Calculation

Upon the urging of a local business, a group of individuals has been meeting to discuss the input costs to determine a living wage in the Columbia Valley. The living wage for the Columbia Valley in 2017 has been calculated as $18.25/hr, for 2 adults working 35 hours/week, with 2 children of childcare age.

On March 13, 2018, the public was invited to learn about the calculation, what it tells us, and what we can do to help local working families achieve it. The Living Wage Workshop – the 1st of it’s kind in BC – saw 25 participants in 6 breakout groups discuss the calculation and how we can work as a community to reduce it.

Definition

The living wage calculation is based on a two-parent family with two children – the most common family unit in BC – and each parent working full-time.

The living wage changes based on costs in each region, which can vary greatly – especially with housing.

A living wage does not cover additional expenses such as:

  • Debt repayment from credit cards, loans or other interest payments
  • Future savings for home ownership, retirement or children’s university education
  • Anything beyond minimal recreation, entertainment and holiday costs
  • Costs of caring for a disabled, seriously ill or elderly family member

Why is it important to earn a living wage?

“One out of every three poor children in BC live in families with at least one adult working full-time, full-year. In other words, child poverty in BC is very much a low-wage story. For most of the past decade, BC’s child-poverty rate, currently at 23.7%, has remained consistently higher than the Canadian average, according to First Call’s Child Poverty Report Card.

Poor children are being raised in poor families. Of the 27 factors identified as having an impact on child development, up to 80% were seen to improve as family income increases.” – Living Wage for Families

Minimum Wage

BC leads the country in having the highest rate of working poverty. In BC, 400,000 workers across BC who are working for less than $15/hour.

Low wage work impacts everyone. Families lose out when parents aren’t able to participate in their children’s lives because they are working two full-time jobs.

Currently, the minimum wage in BC is $11.35/hr and the schedule for increases is:

June 2018: $12.65/hr

June 2019: $13.85

June 2020: $14.60

June 2021: $15.20

The Living Wage for Families Campaign will continue to work to close the gap between the minimum wage and the living wage.