Living Wage Declines
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.