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Living Wage Rate 2017 for North Central BC

BC families face increasing child care and housing costs

(Prince George) A report released today finds that the wage needed to cover the costs of raising a family in North Central BC is $16.39 per hour. This is the 2017 North Central BC living wage, the hourly wage that 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 have been taken into account.

This is a decrease of only $0.13 cents from the 2016 figure of $16.52/hour. This is according to Working for a Living Wage 2017, a report published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ BC office, First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition, and the Living Wage for Families Campaign.

Child care and housing continue to be the two biggest costs in the living wage calculation. Child care rose by $42.50 per month, while rent was up by $54 per month. The overall increase in expenses was 3.38%, much higher than the general inflation rate of 2.3% for British Columbia. The Canada Child Benefit, a policy introduced by the federal government in July of 2016, was substantial enough to offset significant cost increases for families.

“With the implementation of the Canada Child Benefit, we’ve seen the living wage rate decrease for the second year in a row. This decrease demonstrates how good public policy can have a positive impact on families,” says Cori Ramsay, Communications Officer for Integris Credit Union. “BC is the only province without a poverty reduction plan and as a result, families continue to struggle. As employers, we can join the living wage initiative to make a difference in our province; families are counting on employers and whomever forms the next provincial government to do better.”

“A $16.39 hourly living wage may seem high to some but it is based on a bare-bones budget for a family of four in our region,” says Iglika Ivanova, Senior Economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and co-author of the report. “There’s a big gap between the wages many of our neighbours earn and the real costs of raising a family. About 13% of Prince George’s two-parent families with children had incomes less than the living wage in 2014, according to Statistics Canada data from tax files.”

This year, for the first time we have added two cell phones as well as an internet connection, reflecting the fact that more Canadians now have mobile phones than land lines and more families have internet connections at home[1]

For the second year in a row there continues to be decreases to living wage rates in the Capital Regional District ($20.01), Revelstoke ($18.77), North East BC (Dawson Creek, Chetwyn, Tumbler Ridge) ($18.29) District 69 (Parksville-Qualicum) ($16.44), Kamloops ($16.90), Powell River ($16.75), North Central BC (Prince George and Quesnel) ($16.39), Comox Valley ($15.96) and the Fraser Valley ($15.90), where reports were also released today. The living wage only increased in the Clayoquot Sound Region ($20.11).

“Integris is pleased to be releasing the living wage rate for North Central BC for the third year in a row. We remain dedicated to the living wage movement as a living wage employer and encourage other businesses to do the same. Working poverty is an issue across the Province and by developing policies that work to bring our staff out of poverty, business have the opportunity to make real change happen,” says David Bird, President and CEO of Integris Credit Union.

Over 80 companies and organizations across BC, employing more than 8,000 workers and covering many thousands more contracted service workers, have been certified as Living Wage Employers. These include Huu-ay-aht First Nations, SAP (Vancouver), Vancity, the United Way of the Lower Mainland, the City of Quesnel, the City of Port Coquitlam and ProActive Hazmat & Environmental. In 2015, the City of Vancouver committed to begin working towards implementing a living wage policy; they were joined last December by the City of Pitt Meadows.

Working poverty is a Canada-wide issue. Over 50 communities across the country, including 20 in BC, have active living wage campaigns and are advocating to improve quality of life for low-wage workers.

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For interviews, contact

  • Deanna Ogle, Campaign Organizer, Living Wage for Families Campaign,
    604-975-3347.
  • Iglika Ivanova, Senior Economist and Public Interest Researcher, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (and co-author of the report), 604-801-5121 x 232.
  • Marika Albert, Managing Director, Community Social Planning Council Greater Victoria, (250) 383-6166 x 107.

www.livingwageforfamilies.ca

Background:

Living Wages across BC

Community

Living Wage

Year Calculated

Metro Vancouver

$20.62

2017

Clayoquot Sound

$20.11

2017

Victoria (Capital Regional District)

$20.01

2017

Revelstoke

$18.77

2017

North East BC (Dawson Creek, Chetwyn, Tumbler Ridge)

$18.29

2017

Kamloops

$16.90

2017

Powell River

$16.75

2017

Parksville/Qualicum (District 69)

$16.44

2017

North Central BC (Prince George, Quesnel)

$16.39

2017

Comox Valley

$15.96

2017

Fraser Valley

$15.90

2017

Nelson

$18.42

2016

Lower Columbia Region

$18.21

2016

100 Mile House

$17.45

2016

Nanaimo

$17.99

2015

Cowichan Region

$17.55

2015

[1] Canadian Radio-Television and Communications. (2016). Communications Monitoring Report 2016. Retrieved from CRTC: http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/publications/reports/PolicyMonitoring/2016/cmri.htm