You need to be earning $20.91 an hour to make ends meet in Metro Vancouver

When B.C.'s minimum wage climbs to $12.65 in June, it will still be more than $8 per hour below Metro Vancouver's "living wage.".
When B.C.'s minimum wage climbs to $12.65 in June, it will still be more than $8 per hour below Metro Vancouver's "living wage.". (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

You need to be earning at least $20.91 in order to keep your head above water in Metro Vancouver.

That’s according to a new report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), a left-leaning think tank that has crunched the numbers on the so-called “living wage” for the region.

According to the campaign, the living wage is how much money two working parents with two young children would need in order to meet their basic expenses.

Those expenses include rent, child care, food and transportation after government taxes, credits, deductions and subsidies have been factored in.

“For the purpose of the living wage, we use a very conservative measure of rent costs, we’re using $1,600 a month for a three-bedroom unit in Metro Vancouver,” said report co-author Iglika Ivanova.

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According to the latest numbers from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the average price for a Metro Vancouver two-bedroom comes in at $1,745, while in the City of Vancouver it would cost more than $2,100.

The CCPA report found that housing and child care were the two biggest components of the cost of living in Metro Vancouver, stating that rent had increase by about $100 per month, or 6.7 per cent, across the region. Overall expenses, it found, had risen by 1 per cent, lower than the 2.2 per cent rate of inflation.

The new figure of $20.91 is up 30 cents from last year’s $20.61, and the campaign says it would have been higher had the government not reduced fees this year.

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“If we hadn’t seen the 50 per cent MSP cut and the new child care reduction fee initiatives, the living wage would have been 72 cents higher then it currently is,” Ivanova said.

B.C.’s minimum wage is slated to climb to $12.65 per hour in June and $15.20 by 2021.

The report also detailed the living wage for a number of other communities across B.C.:

  • Capital Regional District (Victoria-area): $20.50
  • Revelstoke: $19.37
  • Fraser Valley: $17.40
  • Kamloops: $17.31
  • Powell River: $17.31
  • Parksville-Qualicum: $17.02
  • North Central B.C. (Prince George and Quesnel): $16.51
  • Comox Valley $16.59

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