Living Wages in BC
Living Wage for Families BC works with communities across BC to calculate their local living wage.
The living wage is the hourly amount that each of two working parents with two young children must earn to meet their basic expenses (including rent, child care, food and transportation) once government taxes, credits, deductions and subsidies are taken into account. It does not include debt repayment or savings for future plans.
The current Living Wage rate has been frozen from 2019. We know that 2020 has been a very difficult year for many employers, and temporary Government supports have made it too difficult to calculate an accurate Living Wage for 2020. We will next be updating the Living Wage in November 2021.
The 2019 living wage calculations decreased from 2018 due to the provincial government's investments into child care. While costs continue to increase steeply for many family expenses, the Province's income-tested Affordable Child Care Benefit and Universal Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative are saving BC families thousands of dollars per year. These savings offset the increased cost of living for the living wage family this year. Without sustained public investment in key family expense areas, the living wage decline in 2019 will be short-lived and families will continue to struggle.
In a province as diverse as BC, communities differ when it comes to their cost of living. For example, while some communities may have lower housing or child care costs, others may have lower-cost public transit or easier access to goods and services.
No matter where they live, families should be able to afford a decent life. There are jobs that need to be done in every community, and therefore people need homes, services, and a good quality of life in every community. A regional calculation allows communities to identify policy advocacy that would address poverty in their community.
Living Wages in Canada
More and more communities across Canada are taking action in response to this country’s increasingly high levels of low-wage poverty. Why? They want everyone to afford the basic necessities of life, to live with dignity and to actively participate in their community – they want a living wage.
The site Living Wage Canada supports this national living-wage movement through facilitated learning and information-sharing. The site’s Canadian Living Wage Framework provides a consistent living wage definition and calculation methodology, and a strategy for recognizing corporate and community leadership who commit to passing a living wage policy.