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October 27, 2017 5:50 pm

Living Wage Declines

Thursday, April 27, 2017 @ 5:59 AM

Prince George, B.C.- According  to a new report the wage needed to cover the costs of raising a family in North Central BC is  now $16.39 per hour.

This is the hourly wage  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.

That amount is  13 cents  lower than what the living wage in this region was calculated to be  in 2016.

The report was produced by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ BC office, First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition, and the Living Wage for Families Campaign.

“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.”

In calculating the living wage,  the  researchers added the costs of two cell phones an  internet connection  which have both become necessities for  Canadians.

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.





“In calculating the living wage, the researchers added the costs of two cell phones an internet connection which have both become necessities for Canadians.”

Good Grief. A cell phone (let alone 2) is not a necessity, especially a smart phone at 70 bucks a month.

    I make a decent wage and the price of cell plans is ridiculous. In fact…the price of most things nowadays is ridiculous. Price out a new or even a used vehicle and they still want top dollar for their garbage.

      Cell plans are crazy but like the sheep we are, we keep buying the latest and greatest instead of demanding plans and phones that meet our needs.

      My cell phone (used only occasionally, like when on a trip or just driving in town) is eleven bucks a month. I have no need for a socalled smart phone.

      Prince George, you use your cell phone while driving in town?

    Scrolled down to the comments to find the fellow with this comment, so predictable.

    This article is describing young people with children, not retired people with nothing to do, and nowhere to go.

    Most families do in fact need a phone of some kind, and it makes little sense to pay for a land line phone, which will force you to sign a contract (yes, a contract, for a land line). Yes, cell phones are expensive, and I hope the price would come down. But they are a part of life now, if you don’t have one you are at a disadvantage. You need a phone, so the question isn’t ‘are cell phones too expensive’ – but the question is ‘how much more expensive is it for a cell vs land line’.

    If you don’t agree that not having one puts a person at a disadvantage – try to find a public pay phone and a quarter when you need one. There are very few, and probably not where/when you would need it.

    There are ways to get even a smart phone for less than $70/month, but a person may have to save up to buy the phone outright to avoid mobile providers’ price gouging. Costco online has a few nice ones, I got an awesome phone, with all the features of a flagship Apple device, at about half the cost.

    We pay more here than almost anybody that I’ve read about, anywhere in the world for cell phone plans, the price gouging is brutal. People in parts of Africa get unlimited data plans for cheaper than our 200MB plans. So it is somehow cheaper to provide that service in Africa than it is in North America. Well, maybe – OR price gouging and a duopoly and price fixing is hard at work.

    The chiming in of people on articles like this more than anything make me think they are simply retired people who CAN in fact do without a cell phone – probably people who aren’t asked to sign contracts and minimum monthly payments just to get a simple phone installed at their home, back in the 50’s or whatever.

    Everyone’s different guys, and as the article states, most people who are raising a family (if they can afford one) will choose to own a cell phone. Internet service even more so. Who pays to subscribe to cable TV service anymore? Anyone doing that is wasting far more than the cost a reasonable cell phone plan, all for the privilege of watching some reruns and commercials.

    My 2c obviously, take it with a grain of salt, one size does not fit all.

      Although they don’t say what constitutes a “cell phone” in their calculations, I’m willing to bet they are referring to a smart phone complete with all the bells and whistles going for about $150 a month for the two of them.

      A smart phone is not a necessity. If you’re making less than 17 bucks an hour you can get by with a pay as you go phone for a lot less.

I think the CCPA economists are only telling us half the story here. Why don’t they cost paying an increase to $ 16.39 an hour to anyone making below that amount into prices, and see how much that raises them? Remembering, of course, that there is a considerable difference between what is paid in gross wages (plus the increase in employer paid deductions), which is the figure that will have to be recovered in prices, and the net amount the wage earner actually receives. I don’t question the desirability of everyone making a “living wage”, whatever amount that figure turns out to be. But if such an income comes only from employment earnings paid for by some employer, whose only recourse short of going out of business is to try to recoup the additional cost in prices, how is anyone going to really benefit? Isn’t it about time we looked beyond the ‘amount’ of dollars anyone is paid, and focussed on what each one of those dollars will actually still BUY? It’s an increase in PURCHASING POWER that cures the rise in poverty, is it not? Does simply raising a wage, the cost of which then flows through into prices, plus some, do that? I don’t think so. Find a better way, people, it’s not that hard.

” Find a better way, people, it’s not that hard.”

If it is not that hard I would be very much interested to know what your better way would look like. Please don’t hesitate to make it known!

    It is very simple to do, Prince George. Not so easy to convince people it could be done, and way more difficult to convince them it should be done.

    To put it as briefly as I can, our governments already collect enormous amounts of statistics relating to the amount we produce and import, and also consume and export. What needs to happen is to relate these statistics in a properly constructed National Credit Account. Similar in nature on a macro-economic level to the Balance Sheet found in every individual business’s accounts at the micro-economic level.

    In regards to a business, it’s in business to “make money”, as the saying goes. To turn a profit. But its profit is not analogous to ‘cash’. It is, rather, a figure which in the final analysis, represents an increase in Assets over Liabilities on its Balance Sheet. SOME of that increase will be in ‘cash’, a lot of the rest of it won’t be. It will all be VALUED in money, but it isn’t money itself.

    In any case, with each passing year if the business is going to remain in business, there has to be an ongoing increase in Assets over Liabilities long-term. If it goes the other way, the business is on its way to extinction, again long-term.

    Now in regards to a country, it’s not in existence to make a profit. But with each passing year it also is, or would be, if it had the account I mentioned above, recording an overall increase in Assets over Liabilities. In business accounting such an increase represents a corresponding increase in owner’s equity. From which dividends can be periodically paid. Why not do the same thing for the country as a whole?

‘Finance’ is supposed to be a numerical REFLECTION of physical reality. It can’t really be anything else, since ‘money’, the units of account we use with those ‘$’ signs attached to them, does not exist in nature. It’s an entirely man made construct, and subject to rules and conventions that are man-made, and supposedly designed for it to do its job. Which is simply to facilitate production, and enable its widespread distribution as consumption.

The physical reality is the amount that’s produced, or easily could be produced, and how much of it is actually consumed.

Physically, the true cost of ALL production over any given time period, is ALL consumption over the SAME time period. Financially, however, in today’s modern world, it increasingly ISN’T. Finance is not ‘reflecting’ the overall physical realities properly. We will never solve the problems of increasing poverty, homelessness, and other purely ‘financial’ woes which beset our increasingly productive world until we rectify the way finance mis-represents the overall physical realities. Fail to do that, and no matter how high you make the so-called ‘living wage’, you’re still going to have poverty in the midst of plenty.

Yesss a lot of companies pay cheap wages. Most of forest industry seems acceptable but others like Brink Forest, walMart, car dealers and Save On are laughing all the way to the bank while their employees are going to Money Mart to make ends meet while these companies are throwing away money to make themselves look like fantastic employers with all their profits

Home Depot a very good example, how some of the people can make ends make whille raising a family is beyond me. I worked there part time after I retired for a few years. I commend the staff who keep on getting the ‘sell, sell, sell’ push from their bosses. One of the main reasons is that management, like all staff, receive profit sharing funds every once in awhile. My hats off to the line staff who just keep on trucking while some making only 12$ an hour. Goes for Canadian Tire, Walmart and numerous other sales positions.

    But then those wage increases that you’d like to see will get passed on to the consumers…..me and you. So now I can’t afford to shop there anymore and neither can you. So now the business either has to lay off workers because there is a drop in demand for their products or they have to raise prices again to cover the loss in revenue…which leads to more people not able to afford to shop there.

    Vicious cycle I know….but that’s what happens….

      Exactly. It will never be anything more than a short-term, band-aide solution so long as the increase to a ‘living wage’ has to be charged into and fully recouped in prices. All we’ll be doing is dealing in ever bigger figures. No one really gets any further ahead, and our economy will still fall far short of its potential in providing a decent standard of living for everyone.

      Look elsewhere, “living wage” advocates, because where you’re currently focussing is a non-starter. If anything, there’ll be MORE poverty attempting to go as you’re so bent to, not less. Fine if the political left simply wants to ‘represent’ it, not so if it’s serious about eliminating it.

What you seem to be missing is that the Home Depots, Wal Marts, Canadian Tires. etc. , despite what you see as large profits and low waged employees, could NOT pay the “living wage” mentioned by the CCPA WITHOUT having to RAISE THEIR PRICES.

Which would quickly render any so-called ‘living wage’ right back to being a larger one, but still something that would be again unliveable on. And probably more so.

Look at the empirical evidence. Every time the minimum wage has been raised by the miniscule amounts it has, amounts that still do add up to a considerable increase over time, there’s MORE poverty and MORE use of Food Banks, etc.

Going that way simply doesn’t work.

Nor will the ridiculous notion that all would come right if only we had a government that would “soak the rich”. That’s all been tried. Here, and elsewhere. And on an overall basis anywhere, it’s failed.

You can certainly have ‘equality’ through it. But no one is happy simply being as equally poor as the next guy. If not monetarily, then in a highly restrictive way physically, where no one is allowed to ever advance. And they turn to all the various mind altering substances to relieve their miserable hopelessness.

Minimum wage in BC is currently $10.85 an hour so two people working would make $21.70 an hour, which is $5.31 above the stated $16.39 needed to raise a family here.

What am I missing?

    “This is the hourly wage two working parents with two young children must earn to meet their basic expenses” They both have to be making that, or one of them could earn $32.80 an hour – well not really, because the way our tax rates work, two people earnings 16.39 take home $3,200.00 more than 1 person earning $32.80 because Justin found it offensive that people with a stay at home parent should be able to split their income. He wants both parents out working and the kids in subsidized daycare because that’s the tried and true method of raising a healthy generation – have someone else raise your kids while you work.

    It should be emphasized this is a living wage vs a survival wage – which would be welfare. This is what people need to earn to have a somewhat decent life vs just getting by.

      That makes more sense. Thanks.

If one wants a better wage, stay out of employment that requires little trained skill or education. The grade 12 diploma is useless. Go to school and learn a trade, skill, or a profession that opens the door to a better paying job. Any one can work the lower end jobs, don’t expect to get paid much for this unless it is a union job. …………..

    Dude, I have been riding that line for a log time and every time I suggest that people get off their back side and do something, almost anything, to improve their employability, other commenters have responded with lame excuses like cost, effort and the time it would take. The difference is in what you are willing to do, invest in and even sacrifice for your own success.

    1. Successful People Embrace change. Unsuccessful People Fear change.

    Change is always going to occur around us, either you choose to adapt and live on or die a slow painful death.
    2. Successful people want others to succeed. Unsuccessful people secretly hope others fail.

    Spending all your time hoping someone fails not only attracts bad energy, it’s simply a waste of time. All those times thinking about the demise of others is time that can be spent doing things to help you become more successful.

    3. Successful people accept responsibly for their failures. Unsuccessful blame others for their failures.

    Being a true leader takes one who will be honest when they screw up. It puts you in a position of solving the problem instead of bitching about it.

    4. Successful people talk about ideas. Unsuccessful people talk about people.

    Talking about other people is a waste of time and makes you sound like young high school girls talking sh*t about each other during recess. All that time can be spent on brainstorming the next big idea that changes the world.

    5. Successful people give people all the credit for their victories. Unsuccessful people take all the credit from others.

    No matter who you are, it takes an amazing team of talented people to help you attain success. Spending team making sure the people you work with are appreciated will not only help attract the best talents to you, but help ensure everyone is giving their best efforts to complete the end-goal.

    6. Successful people operate from a transformational perspective. Unsuccessful people operate from a transactional perspective.

    True leaders focus on growth and ways to make him/herself and the people around them better. It’s not always about just getting as much out of people as possible. This is not only short term thinking, but doesn’t set you up as a person people would want to be around with.
    7. Successful people continuously learn. Unsuccessful people fly by the seat of your pants.

    I sightly agree with this one. While focusing on constantly learning is crucial, going with your instinct can sometimes lead to great rewards. I think no matter what you do in life, you can always find ways to learn and grow.

    8. Successful people compliment others. Unsuccessful people criticize others.

    Complimenting others can be a great weapon in your business arsenal. It exudes positive energy and breaks down barriers from people around you. This helps build rapport and helps you get what you want out of people.

    9. Successful people forgive others. Unsuccessful People hold grudges.

    Successful people are always forward thinking and know that holding grudges can hold them back. Take Steve Jobs for example, even with his bouts with Bill Gates, it was ultimately Gates who took part in investing his own dollars to help save Apple. You can’t do stuff like that when you hold grudges with people.

    10. Successful people have gratitude. Unsuccessful people don’t appreciate others and the world around them.

    Being appreciative of the things around you keeps you grounded and makes you realize the beauty of the world. You can’t change the world if you hate it.

I don’t accept anything from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives at face value, they are an NDP think tank (making them very suspect) and many of their past pronouncements have been out to lunch or deliberately misleading.

That being said, I’m willing to hear what they have to say on the issue, but this article and the one in The Citizen leave out a lot of detail.

Do they mean $16.39 per hour each? If so that’s a pretty decent income.

How many hours? Lots of minimum wage employers only hire part time workers to avoid the cost of benefits.

Are they assuming that if everyone gets this living wage, that prices won’t rise as a result and the cost of living will remain the same? Unrealistic if they are.

It’s not how much you make . It’s what you do with what you make . Every category of income earners have their failers . There are million dollar earners that end up in bankruptcy. Even accountants , doctors , engineers and my fellow income earners . I’ve seen it first hand . The vast majority of Rat Racers never get off the ever increasing treadmill . Financial illiterates don’t know how it works and that’s the reason people fail . I was fortunate to realize this decades ago and to rectify that situation . I have bought and given the book that was the thin edge of the wedge to finacial freedom to maybe a dozen people to little or no effect . It was written so that even a ten year old could understand it . There has to be the will to succeed. This book I speak of was only ( if memory serves ) $15 but to me it was worth hundreds of thousands .

    I’m curious, did you buy this book at the same place that sold you your solar system?

      No . I bought my first copy at Coles . When I was finished reading it , I donated it to my local library . The gifting copy’s I bought online at indigo .

Wealthy Barber?

    Nope !

      Regardless, Ataloss, , if EVERYONE read the book you’re talking about and tried to apply what advice it most likely contains, the economy would collapse. It only survives now because people financially try to “live beyond their means”. Something, btw, that is completely physically impossible to do.

      Either what you’re consuming exists, or it does not. And if it does not, there’s no way you can consume it. There is no such thing as a debt in nature. You can’t eat tomorrow’s meal today without it becoming today’s meal. And if it hasn’t already been made today, you can’t eat it today at all. But if it has, then why can’t you pay for it today? Why do we continually mortgage tomorrow’s earnings to pay for today’s consumption, most of which was probably made yesterday?

      The economy would not collapse if there were no debt slaves . It would actually gain about thirty percent and that thirty percent would grow the economy through further investment and consumption . Most people have no idea of how life is like without debt . It feels like the opposite of the debt snowball effect . The simple trick is to spend less than one makes . The difference for the wealthy , the poor and middle class is that the wealthy delay reward . The Rat Racers don’t delay reward . They have to spend it all .

      “Art of the Steal”… ?

      Nope !

      Dr Suess

      Nope but Suzy Orman gave me the fool prof methodology to get out of many multiple debt streams . You see I was a debt slave on the edge of going under , like many of my equally brilliant money manager peers . Be careful what you read , you become what you read . Hockey news ?

      Ataloss:= “The simple trick is to spend less than one makes .”
      On an ‘individual’ basis, yes, Ataloss. But that simply won’t work if EVERYONE tried to do it. And the reason is this. Every dollar everyone earns is a dollar that has been costed into the price of some good or service they’ve had a hand in providing. If EVERYONE spent less than they made the costs could never be fully liquidated in prices. They can’t now, but only partially for that very reason. Furthermore, if the amount ‘saved’ was re-invested in some form of new production, that amount represents the creation of ANOTHER cost, without any additional purchasing power being available to liquidate it.

      Okay cred . I see what you are getting at . The spending less than one makes was alittle more than simplistic . The money not spent on living , servicing debt , I was taught to buy financial vehicles ( assets ) that generate cap gain , dividends and DRIP[ing] same . It’s not like we should stuff it into a mattress . That doesn’t feed the monster .

Socredible:”To put it as briefly as I can, our governments already collect enormous amounts of statistics relating to the amount we produce and import, and also consume and export. What needs to happen is to relate these statistics in a properly constructed National Credit Account.”

So now you have collected all these statistics in the above NCA. Now what? Import/Export restrictions, limits or quotas? Price controls? Wage/Salary controls? What would that accomplish in respect to the main topic, which is “Living Wage?”

I would not entrust any of this to government interference and manipulation! We all know how schemes like that caused nothing but grief! Governments are worse than people when it comes to spend borrowed money to live beyond their (governments) means, usually to try to get re-elected and pay the enormous salaries and benefits of the top government elite.

Since capitalism has conquered the world (except for the odd North Koreas) including the former USSR and China, we all play by the same rules, in fact we do almost anything to keep corporations in the country or compete vigorously to attract new ones with all kinds of incentives, like hundreds of millions of free dollars and seven year tax exemptions.

    Prince George:- “So now you have collected all these statistics in the above NCA. Now what? Import/Export restrictions, limits or quotas? Price controls? Wage/Salary controls? What would that accomplish in respect to the main topic, which is “Living Wage?”

    No, none of what you’re mentioning at first, PG. The problem of providing a “living wage” is that if this wage comes solely from earned incomes ~ wages or a salary ~ the costs of the increase, plus the ancillary increases that are strictly employer paid but based on the increase in wages, have to all flow through and be recovered from prices. In this country, most minimum waged people are not engaged in supplying products for export. They’re in the service industries, supplying goods or services that are consumed here, in Canada. So we can’t get money from abroad to pay the increase in wages, it has to come from what’s spent here.

    With the advent of modern technology, labor, and labored incomes are continually being displaced. We already are beginning to see automated check-outs in the larger retail outlets, and various things like that. A local farmer where we are has invested a few million in a completely automated milking system. The cow is untouched by human hands. The machine does the whole works, including analyzing the milk for anything that is a potential health hazard, and how much Bosie is giving relative to what she’s been eating. This is going to continue apace. Our capacity to produce continues to expand. But our financial ability to consume, if wages are the only source of incomes, does not. Not a very healthy situation, long term, as we’re witnessing with the undeniable rise in poverty and homelessness, etc.

    So what do we want to do? If ALL costs were current labor costs, and all were available as incomes for spending everything might be okay. But they’re not, and increasingly aren’t ever going to be. So how do you get an income into the hands of those who need it under conditions where their work is no longer either required or even desired?

    We have to have another basis for distributing incomes. And that basis is to properly credit consumers for all CAPITAL APPRECIATION, which we don’t currently do. Though we do currently charge them, in prices, for all Capital DEPRECIATION. Which, in total, they cannot pay.

Lots of good reads out there! Affluenza was interesting

Dirtman stated:
I don’t accept anything from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives at face value, they are an NDP think tank (making them very suspect) and many of their past pronouncements have been out to lunch or deliberately misleading.

By changing a few words you would have my take on this:
I don’t accept anything from the Fraser Institute at face value, they are a Liberal/Conservative think tank (making them very suspect)and many of their past pronouncements have been out to lunch or deliberately misleading.

    Both those ‘think tanks’ are employing economists to come up with the economic data that’s needed to back up a pre-determined political point of view. They’re not looking at anything ‘inductively’, they’re instead assembling various selected facts to present an argument ‘deductively’. You can’t totally blame the economists, they’re only human and they have to eat, too. But neither group is out to present the whole truth, just to reinforce their financial backers opinions of it.

      Agreed . That’s why our society needs a cold blooded mathematician with integrity at the helm . Now where are you going to find one of those ?

      Cold blooded? Isn’t that how some referred to Harper?

      Mathematician? Well, he certainly new his numbers?

      Integrity? I and many others would certainly give him that!

      So Ataloss, what you are saying is that we need Harper back!

      Hands down a far better choice than someone who thinks that the budget will balance itself!

According to Nick Hanauer:

Walmart profits 25 billion$ US per year, and if they paid all their employees $15 an hour (US of course) they would still profit 15 billion$ US.

Not too shabby.

    In 2017, Walmart’s global net sales amounted to about 481.32 billion USD.

    A $25 Billion USD profit represents only 5.19%.

    I’m not defending WalMart, but big numbers need to be taken in context.

    5.19%! If you were an investor and owner of WalMart stock, would you be satisfied with 5.19%?

    Didn’t think so!

    ht tps://www.statista.com/statistics/183399/walmarts-net-sales-worldwide-since-2006/

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