(Upsplash)

Victoria now officially has one of the highest basic living wages in BC.

According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative (CCPA), a basic living wage in Victoria is $24.29 per hour. 

It is calculated to the standard of the hourly rate that each of two parents working full-time need to earn in order to support a family of four. 

This amount is enough to cover the costs of having two young children and the ability to cover all the necessities for the healthy development of those children.

It also accounts for the ability to escape financial stress and the ability to be a part of social, civic and cultural activities in their communities.

Food and housing costs have been rising at an unprecedented rate in 2022 and those costs are the reason for the living wage rising accordingly. 

In 2021, the living wage for Greater Victoria was calculated to be $20.46 per hour by the CCPA. So 2022’s living wage of $24.29 per hour is $3.83 higher than last year’s. 

This jump is an 18.7% increase from 2021’s living wage. 

The gap between this calculated living wage versus the current minimum wage in BC of $15.65 per hour leaves a distinct gap that causes many families to struggle making ends meet.

Only bare-bones essentials are what the CCPA takes into account for a family of four with a dual income. 

Most notably for Victorians in the CCPA’s study is that Metro Vancouver’s living wage was actually calculated to be less than Victoria’s. Their living wage was set at $24.08 per hour for 2022. A 17.3% increase from 2021’s $20.52 per hour.

The following image portrays what Metro Vancouver’s basic living wage income could cover in an estimated budget made by the CCPA. 

(CCPA)

Not covered as part of this basic living wage are costs relating to:

  • Paying off credit card debt, loan payments or student loan debt payments
  • Saving for a comfortable retirement
  • Home ownership
  • Organized sports or anything more than minimal recreation
  • Anything beyond minimal entertainment and holiday costs.
  • Costs related to caring for a disabled, ill, or elderly family member
  • An emergency fund to cover costs in hard times 

Employers and government agencies are being called on to put in the work to give people a fighting chance to support their families properly. 

“At a time of a sharply increasing cost of living, it is essential that both public and private sector employers take a closer look at the earnings of their lower-paid workers and consider how far these earnings stretch in our most expensive regions,” said the CCPA in their 2022 living wage study. 

Paying a living wage to employees has even been proven to benefit employers. The study shows that less people won’t show up for work, there will be less staff turnover, people will be more skilled in their roles and positive morale will improve productivity. 

Employers will also pay less toward recruitment and training when living wage policies are implemented. These contributing factors aid employees in affording to effectively support themselves and their family and also helps improve businesses’ customer satisfaction, meaning higher profits.

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