The Living Wage for Families Campaign raises awareness about the negative impact of low-wage poverty on families and communities in Metro Vancouver, advocating that the key solution to low-wage poverty is to pay families a living wage – enough to cover basic living expenses such as food, clothing, shelter, transportation and child care. The 2013 living wage rate for Metro Vancouver is $19.62/hour.
Without such safeguards, families who work for low wages face impossible choices: buy food or heat the house, feed the children or pay the rent. The result is often spiralling debt, constant anxiety and long-term health problems. For many more parents it can also mean working long hours, often at two or three jobs, just to pay for basic necessities. And that means little time spent at home, let alone time to help children with school work or to participate in community activities. The frustration of working harder and harder only to fall further behind is one many BC residents can relate to.
- At 18.6%, BC’s child-poverty rate is the highest in Canada
- At 19.4%, Vancouver’s is the second-highest child-poverty rate among Canada’s 20 largest urban centres
- 32% of poor children in BC – 44,500 children – live in families with at least one adult working full-time, year-round (2013 Child Poverty Report Card)