A report out today called Working for a Living Wage 2015: Making Paid Work Meet Basic Family Needs in Vancouver says that you need to earn at least $20.68/per hour (and so does your partner) to basically raise two children in Metro Vancouver.
There are many interesting statements made by this study. Here is one that stood out to me.
“In BC, the contradiction between years of economic growth and rising insecurity is especially stark. Median earnings for BC workers are lower than for their parents’ generation in the late 1970s, once inflation is taken into account. BC saw the largest decline in median earnings for full-time, full-year workers of the five Canadian provinces where earnings fell since the late 1970s. And that happened during a time when the provincial economy more than doubled in real terms and real GDP per capita rose by more than 30 per cent.”
What is a living wage and how is it different than a minimum wage?
The living wage is calculated as the hourly rate at which a household can meet its basic needs, once government transfers have been added to the family’s income (such as the Canada Child Tax Benefit, CCTB) and deductions have been subtracted (such as income taxes and Employment Insurance premiums).
What a living wage allows for is a family getting by in Vancouver. If you one day dream of retiring, having some toys, or taking a nice holiday (or heck, why not all three, dare to dream!) then you’ll need to earn more than $20.68 and hour or not have kids.
Your best value regionally to raise a family is the Fraser Valley where you only require $17.27/an hour.
Vancity Buzz broke down the bare bones budget for a family of four with the two adults working and making $20.68/an hour.
Here’s a breakdown of the report’s bare bones living budget for Metro Vancouver:
FOOD: $783/month (based on estimates by the Provincial Health Services Authority for a nutritious diet).
CLOTHING AND FOOTWEAR: $191/month. SHELTER: $1,573/month (includes conservative rent estimate for a three-bedroom apartment, utilities, telephone, and insurance on home contents).
TRANSPORTATION: $517/month (includes the amortized cost of owning and operating a used car as well as a two-zone bus pass for one of the parents, replaced by a discounted student transit pass, the U-Pass, for eight months of the year).
CHILD CARE: $1,324/month (for a four-year-old in full-time care, a seven-year-old in before and after school care, full-time care during winter break (one week, the other assumed covered by the statutory holidays and informal arrangements) and spring break (two weeks), and six weeks of full-time summer care). Notably, child care is the second most expensive item in the living wage family budget after shelter.
MEDICAL SERVICES PLAN (MSP) PREMIUMS: $144/month.
NON-MSP HEALTH CARE: $139/month (the cost of a basic extended health and dental plan with Pacific Blue Cross Insurance; does not include expenses only partially covered by the insurance plan). PARENTS’ EDUCATION: $91/month (allows for two college courses per year).
CONTINGENCY FUND: $241/month (two weeks’ wages for each parent, which provides some cushion for unexpected events like the serious illness of a family member, transition time between jobs, etc.).
OTHER HOUSEHOLD EXPENSES: $734/month (covers toiletries and personal care, furniture, household supplies, laundry, school supplies and fees, bank fees, some reading materials, Internet, minimal recreation and entertainment, family outings (for example to museums and cultural events), birthday presents, modest family vacation and some sports and/or arts classes for the children). This living wage calculation does not cover:
- Credit card, loan, or other debt/interest payments;
- Savings for retirement;
- Owning a home;
- Savings for children’s future education;
- Anything beyond minimal recreation, entertainment, or holiday costs;
- Costs of caring for a disabled, seriously ill, or elderly family member; or
- Much of a cushion for emergencies or tough times.
Raising a family in Vancouver costs 24% more today than it did just 7 years ago http://t.co/y2z3aLT50C
— Jameson Berkow (@crudereporter) April 29, 2015
— First Call (@FirstCallBC) April 29, 2015
— Vancity (@Vancity) April 29, 2015