$17.02/hour required for Fraser Valley families to make ends meet

Published on April 29th, 2014


(Abbotsford) $17.02 is the 2014 Fraser Valley living wage rate, according to a report released today by Living Wage Fraser Valley that calculates the hourly wage that two working parents with young children must earn to cover the real costs of raising a family. Living wage rates have also risen for Metro Vancouver and Greater Victoria, to $20.10 and $18.93, respectively.

The living wage is calculated as the hourly rate at which a family with two full-time earners and two young children can meet its basic expenses (including rent, child care, food and transportation), once government taxes, credits, deductions and subsidies have been taken into account.

The 2014 Fraser Valley living wage rose by 65 cents from the 2012 figure of $16.37/hour. This represents an increase of 4% over the two years, which is higher than the general inflation rate. Compared to two years ago, families must spend $156 more each month to make ends meet.

Child care and shelter costs are the two big drivers of this increase. Child care costs rose by $37 dollars per month, while rent costs were up by $32 dollars per month.   Other items in the family budget that saw notable percentage increases were MSP premiums (up 8%), clothing and footwear (up 6%) and transportation (up 5%).

In the Fraser Valley, 16% of people, including 5,450 children under 18 years, fall below the Low Income Measure After Tax (LIM-AT). More than one in four (28%) 2-parent 2-child families do not make enough to surpass the Living Wage threshold. In BC, one out of every three poor children lives in families where at least one adult has a full-time, full-year job, and a majority live in families with some paid work.

Though a $17.02 an hour living wage rate may be a surprise to some, it is important to remember that this high wage rate reflects, in part, a failure of public policy to provide inputs such as universal affordable childcare, affordable rental and social housing, affordable enrollment in healthcare and affordable transportation. If there were adequate universal supports for low income families in these areas, their struggles to make ends meet would be significantly reduced. For example, the $10/Day Child Care community plan proposed by the Child Care Advocates of BC and the Early Childhood Educators of BC, would reduce the Fraser Valley living wage by  $3.36 per hour to $13.66.

“The living wage is one of the most powerful tools available to address BC’s troubling state of child poverty and working poverty more broadly,” says Michael McCarthy Flynn, Campaign Organizer with the Living Wage for Families Campaign. “It calls on employers to pay wages that reflect the actual costs of living in their communities.”

Last year, Vancity was recognized by Living Wage Fraser Valley as the Fraser Valley’s first certified Living Wage employer.

Fraser Valley residents can support Living Wage initiatives by joining Living Wage Fraser Valley, supporting or becoming certified Living Wage employers, and advocating for policy changes that improve government benefits and social programs.

For more information contact or 778-880-8516