Living wage rises again in 2015: $17.27/hour required for Fraser Valley families to make ends meet
LIVING WAGE RISES AGAIN IN 2015: $17.27/HOUR REQUIRED FOR FRASER VALLEY FAMILIES TO MAKE ENDS MEET
(Abbotsford) $17.27 is the wage required to cover the real costs of raising a family in the Fraser Valley. This is the 2015 Fraser Valley living wage, the hourly wage that two full-time 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.
The 2015 Fraser Valley living wage rose by 25 cents from the 2014 figure of $17.02/hour, according to Living Wage Fraser Valley: 2015 Update, a report published by Living Wage Fraser Valley and Vibrant Abbotsford. This represents an increase of 1.5%, higher than the general inflation rate of 1.0% for British Columbia. Living wage rates have also risen faster than inflation for Metro Vancouver and Greater Victoria, to $20.68 and $20.05 respectively, where reports were also released today.
The living wage calculation is broken down as follows: $62,863 in gross income (with each parent making $17.27 an hour) minus $8,348 in the taxes they would pay plus $5,794 in government transfers (Canada child tax benefit, universal child care benefit and BC early childhood tax credit).
Child care, transportation and food were the biggest drivers of the living wage increase in the Fraser Valley since last year. Child care costs rose by $50 per month since last year, transportation by $29, and food by $24. Living Wage continues to rise steadily over time; compared to three years ago, families must spend $308 more each month to make ends meet.
Though the current living wage rate seem high, “it is important to remember that this wage rate reflects, in part, a failure of public policy to ensure affordability and a decent quality of life for all families,” says Iglika Ivanova, CCPA economist. Investing in public policies to provide affordable housing, child care, healthcare and transportation, would significantly lower the living wage. For example, the proposed $10/Day Child Care plan would reduce the Fraser Valley living wage by $3.33 per hour to $13.94. Ivanova notes that this “would cost about the same as the Universal Child Care Benefit and the Family Tax Cut (income spitting), which offer little benefit to low and middle-income families.”
In the Fraser Valley, 15% of people, including 11,175 children under 18 years, live in poverty (using Low Income Measure After Tax). There are over 5,000 working poor individuals in Abbotsford, and one out of every three poor children (32%) in BC lives in a family where at least one adult works full-time, full-year.
Living Wage Fraser Valley is calling on local employers to voluntarily pay wages that reflect the actual costs of living in our community. Interested businesses can become certified through Living Wage Fraser Valley’s employer certification program. Fraser Valley residents can support Living Wage initiatives by joining Living Wage Fraser Valley and by supporting policies and tax/transfer systems that make cost of living more affordable.