The amount a family of four has to earn to scrape by in Metro Vancouver has decreased for the first time in eight years, but it’s still not enough, according to the Living Wage for Families Campaign.
The living wage dropped by four cents from $20.68 to $20.64 an hour thanks to the expansion of the Canada Child Benefit, which balanced out increases to the cost of living.
“Costs rose dramatically over the past year for families in Metro Vancouver – for example, the rent on a three bedroom apartment increased by $75 a month,” Living Wage for Families Campaign spokesperson Deanna Ogle tells Vancity Buzz. “For us, it’s an example of how good public policy can help families make ends meet.”
Child care and housing are two of the biggest costs in living wage calculations, with childcare rising by $32 a month. Despite the positive change in the living wage, Ogle believes more decreases are needed in order for families to survive in the city.
“38 per cent of families in Metro Vancouver of a similar size – two parent, two child families – don’t make a living wage, so there’s a large number of families that aren’t able to make ends meet,” she says.
“What we see are that municipalities in Metro Vancouver are stepping up to the plate by committing to paying a living wage for all their direct staff and contracted staff, and the federal government with the Canada Child Benefit, but what we don’t see is the province stepping forward with any concrete plan around poverty reduction.”
Ogle adds the creation of policies by the provincial government will have a positive impact on the lives of families in the Metro area.