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Living wage required for Metro Vancouver rises to $20.10 per hour

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

Downtown Vancouver. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)

Downtown Vancouver. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)

A joint report finds the new wage to survive a paycheque-to-paycheque lifestyle in Metro Vancouver this year is $20.10 per hour — with its authors hoping employers take the information as a sign to hand out some raises.

Michael McCarthy Flynn with the Living Wage for Families Campaign said the annual report takes into account costs of living using data from Statistics Canada, Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and the Dieticians of Canada.

“These people won’t be able to own a house, save for retirement or save for education,” McCarthy Flynn said.

“It’s a little bit more than scraping by — it’s above the poverty line … but it’s by no means a luxurious lifestyle.”

He said that model is intended as a guideline for how much money each parent in a family of four — two parents, two kids — would have to earn in order to support the paycheque-to-paycheque lifestyle.

“A single person might not have kids, but chances are they have a student debt, and if you factor that in I think the $20 (per hour) is quite accurate,” McCarthy Flynn said.

“What we’re hoping is that more employers will look at the benefits of paying a living wage.”

The report also pointed to government policies as one possible solution, such as a New Westminster policy passed in 2010 that stipulated all city staff must be paid the “Metro Vancouver living wage.”

According to the report — put together by LWFFC, First Call and Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives — the living wage last year was $19.62 per hour.

Over the past year, increases in child care and housing costs were seen as significant factors. Rent increases jumped an average of $50 per month and child-care costs increased a similar amount.




The monthly budget for two parents each making $20.10 per hour:

  • Food $775
  • Clothing $195
  • Housing $1,490
  • Transportation $486
  • Child care $1,242
  • MSP premiums $138.50
  • Non-MSP health care $136
  • Parents’ education $89
  • Savings $235
  • Other expenses $731

SOURCE: Living Wage 2014 report

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