Common questions about the Living Wage
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.
Poverty Impacts All of Us
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.