In order to support themselves and two children, each full-time working parent should earn $19.62 an hour, or $35,708 annually.
For families in Metro Vancouver, this is the suggested living wage for 2013 in a report released today (May 2) by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
Authored by Iglika Ivanova and Seth Klein, the paper—Working for a Living Wage 2013: Making Paid Work Meet Basic Family Needs in Metro Vancouver—makes the case for a living wage, or the rate needed to meet the basic needs of a family, such as food, clothing, and shelter, after government transfers and deductions.
“The living wage gets families out of severe financial stress by lifting them out of poverty and providing a basic level of economic security,” the paper states.
Even then it makes for a bare-bones budget, according to the report. It doesn’t cover a lot of things, like the cost of owning a home or saving for children’s future education. The living wage is different from the legally mandated minimum wage.
Michael McCarthy Flynn is the living-wage campaign organizer of First Call: B.C. Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition. Flynn noted that although steps to solve poverty and promote economic growth by attracting well-paying jobs and investments in skills training are positive measures, these don’t address one key issue.
“We already have a huge low-wage sector here,” Flynn told the Straight in a phone interview. “And that won’t be affected by creating high-end jobs. It will stay the same. Every time a new university or mining company opens, they create high-end jobs but they also create attendant low-wage jobs, whether it’s administrators, whether its security staff, etcetera.”