While anybody could have guessed that Vancouver has the highest cost of living, a new report is showing that the ‘living wage’ here isn’t much higher than in other parts of BC. The non-profit organization Living Wage for Families has released its annual report across the province, and we’re here to give you the rundown. Let’s check it out!
First up- what does a living wage actually mean? According to the report, it is the hourly amount needed for two working parents, with two young children, to meet basic expenses (food, housing, transportation, and child care). It also factors in a variety of help/expenses from the government- taxes, subsidies, and so on… So, technically, these numbers should be doubled to be met by a single parent.
Looking at the map for the living wage in BC, Vancouver is still the highest, but not by nearly as much as we expected. Sitting at $20.52/hour, it’s only a tiny bit more than in Victoria ($20.46), and about a dollar more than in smaller cities and towns like Golden, Nelson, and Revelstoke. Frankly, we thought it would be way higher, considering the cost of housing in the city.
But, some other cities and towns are considerably less expensive. Kamloops, Nanaimo, the Fraser Valley, and the Comox Valley all have living wages under $17/hour, with Nanaimo ($16.33) coming in lowest across the province. Something to think about if you’re ready to leave the big city behind!
And finally, none of the regions listed have a living wage that is under the province’s minimum wage, which is currently $15.20/hour. So, while we’re tied for the second-highest minimum wage in Canada, it’s still not enough to get by, at least by these metrics.
Here’s hoping more employers join the 300 or so that have already pledged living wages in the province!