From all of us at the Living Wage for Families Campaign, thank you for all that you do to support the living wage in your communities.
The living wage is gaining momentum across BC. We’ve doubled the number of Living Wage Employers in the past two years. Look at what else you’ve helped us accomplish in 2016. Congratulations to you all!Read more
What is the difference between the minimum wage and the Living Wage?
The minimum wage is different from the Living Wage. The minimum wage is the legislated minimum set by the provincial government, it is currently $15.65 an hour. For a worker earning minimum wage, they would have to work an extra 10 hours a week to be able to make ends meet.
Thousands of families making the current minimum wage in BC are still living below the poverty line.
A living wage calls on employers to meet a higher standard, to ensure that wages for their staff and major contractors reflect the true costs of living in a community and that parents can earn what they need to support their families.
What is the benefit for businesses to pay a Living Wage?
97% of Living Wage Employers in BC have reported a benefit from joining the program. They have found that paying a Living Wage reduces staff turnover, recruitment and training costs and has increased morale, productivity and brand awareness.
What is the Living Wage for my community?
We have produced Living Wage calculations for 13 communities across British Columbia. Check out our map to find your local Living Wage rate.
How do I become a Living Wage Employer?
Living Wage Employers commit to paying their direct and contracted staff a Living Wage. To find out more about the steps involved to becoming a Living Wage Employer, then read our Guide to Becoming a Living Wage Employer.
Poor families face impossible choices: buy food or heat the house, fill a prescription or pay the rent. But child poverty is not just an issue for low-wage families and their children.
We all pay a price for child-poverty in BC. It weakens local economics and increases costs for public services.
Increased health care costs
Low-income families are not only more vulnerable to poor health than those earning a living wage, they use more health-care resources because illness can make it harder to get out of poverty. Poverty can lead to sickness because of inadequate housing, poor nutrition, and less access to preventative health care. In fact, poverty costs British Columbians $1.2 to $3.8 billion a year in increased health costs, according to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and BC Healthy Living Alliance.
Increased demands and pressures on our education system
Studies show that children who arrive hungry to school, or whose parents work two to three jobs to make ends meet, struggle academically. Also, teenagers in low-income families are at increased risk of quitting school before graduating Grade 12 – often to supplement their family’s income. As unqualified workers, these teens (and their future families) are also likely to continue living in poverty, and their increasing numbers pose serious implications for the province’s global economic competitiveness and fiscal sustainability.
Lost tax revenue and reduced economic activity
It is well established that lower-income households spend more of their money locally than those in higher-income brackets. And when workers buy goods and services in their local communities, it benefits neighbourhood businesses, many of which are small businesses.
A living wage is the hourly amount a family needs to cover basic expenses
- Rental housing
- Child care
- Small savings to cover illness or emergencies
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. Find living wage rates across BC.
Living Wage for Families BC encourages employers to pay a living wage as well as advocates for government policies that would help families make ends meet.
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
For full details on the Metro Vancouver living wage calculation, see Working for a Living Wage: Making Paid Work Meet Basic Family Needs in Metro Vancouver by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives - BC Office (CCPA-BC).
More and more British Columbians work in low-wage jobs that do not pay enough to live on
Many 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 has remained at one in five children living in poverty.
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.
A living wage lifts working families out of poverty
A living wage is different than a minimum wage. The minimum wage is the legislated minimum set by the provincial government. The minimum wage should be set at a rate high enough to lift an individual worker out of poverty. An adequate minimum wage is the government’s responsibility to address working poverty.
A living wage is an opportunity for employers to do better. A living wage calls on employers to meet a higher standard for their both staff and major contractors, to ensure that wages reflect the true costs of living in a community and that parents can earn what they need to support their families. More than 350 Living Wage Employers across BC agree and have certified with us.
Living Wage for Families BC also advocates for policies that would positively impact families. We support the call for quality and affordable child care as well as for housing policies that would help low-wage families make ends meet.
It has been an incredibly busy year for the Living Wage for Families Campaign. We thank all our supporters and employers who have helped grow the living wage movement and reduce low-wage poverty across BC.Read more
We’ve always believed that work should be a pathway out of poverty, not a perpetuator of it.
Despite being a wealthy province, BC has the highest rate of working poverty in Canada. This means that a significant number of people who work and pay taxes do not earn enough income to meet their basic needs.
Our work first emerged in 2006, with the recognition that many children below the poverty line were living in homes where at least one parent was working full-time, year-round.
We began with the development of a living wage calculation – the hourly amount that a worker must earn to meet their basic expenses and avoid working poverty.
Since then, our efforts have expanded to encompass awareness building, advocacy and Living Wage Employer certification. We take pride in certifying hundreds of employers who commit to paying their direct staff, as well as contracted workers, a living wage.
In recent years, the combined impact of rising costs of living across the province, with limited adjustments in wages and the precarity of employment means that low-wage workers are still living in poverty – working poverty.
Our vision is a province where every worker can thrive. A living wage is the gateway between surviving and thriving. It is a modest budget, that allows workers to overcome severe financial stress, move beyond working poverty and participate in the social, civic and cultural aspects of life.
We know we need to create the conditions for workers to earn a Living Wage. The living wage has increased dramatically in recent years because of the increased cost of essentials like food and rent. We are expanding our work to look at all of the conditions that affect workers earning a Living Wage.
We recognize our unique role as a convenor and catalyst. We can collaborate with workers, employers, unions, and governments, we will leverage our tools and collective strengths to advance our mission.