April 29, 2014 10:48 pm

Raising a family in Metro Vancouver is more expensive than ever: report

It is yet another proof of just how costly it is to make a living in Metro Vancouver.

A report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives finds the living wage, the amount a young family needs to meet their basic needs, has pushed the twenty dollar mark in Metro Vancouver.

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Two working parents with two young children must now each earn at least $20 and 10 cents (or or $36,582 annually) to make it in Vancouver. This number is up 48 cents from $19.62 last year.

That’s almost double the current minimum wage of  $10.25 per hour.

The study says a total of forty dollars and twenty cents an hour is what’s needed to cover rent, child care, food and transportation after taking into account government taxes, credits, deductions and subsidies.

Living Wage advocates say the province needs universal, affordable child-care and more rental housing to help families cope.

They also point to the fact B.C. has one of the highest child-poverty rate in the country as one reason employers need to raise wages.

Here is what the $20.10 per hour wage will afford a family:

FOOD: $775/month (based on estimates by the Dietitians of Canada for a nutritious diet).

CLOTHING AND FOOTWEAR: $195/month.

SHELTER: $1,490/month (includes conservative rent estimate for a three-bedroom apartment, utilities, telephone, and insurance on home contents).

TRANSPORTATION: $486/month (includes the amortized cost of owning and operating a used car as well as a two-zone bus pass for one of the parents, replaced by a discounted student transit pass, the U-Pass, for eight months of the year).

CHILD CARE: $1,242/month (for a four year old in full-time care, a seven year old in before and after school care, and six weeks of summer care). Notably, child care is the second most expensive item in the living wage family budget after shelter.

MEDICAL SERVICES PLAN (MSP) PREMIUMS: $138.50/month.

NON-MSP HEALTH CARE: $136/month (the cost of a basic extended health and dental plan with Pacific Blue Cross Insurance; does not include expenses only partially covered by the insurance plan).

PARENTS’ EDUCATION: $89/month (allows for two college courses per year).

CONTINGENCY FUND: $235/month (two weeks’ wages for each parent, which provides some cushion for unexpected events like the serious illness of a family member, transition time between jobs, etc.).

OTHER HOUSEHOLD EXPENSES: $731/month (covers personal care, furniture, household supplies, school supplies, some reading materials, minimal recreation and entertainment).

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