Victoria families need to earn almost $4 per hour more than last year to meet basic needs

Victoria families need to earn almost $4 per hour more than last year to meet basic needs
August de Richelieu/pexels
Both parents for a family of four would need to earn at least $24.29 in Victoria to be earning a living wage.

Twenty-four dollars and twenty-nine cents.

That’s how much a new report says two parents would each need to earn per hour in order to support a family of four in Victoria.

This is an increase of $3.83 or 18.7 per cent from when the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives calculated the living wage in 2021.

Food costs and housing prices are what the CCPA cites as reasons for these price jumps.

“With general inflation shooting up to a 40-year high this year, and with the cost of food rising even faster and rent increasing everywhere, especially for families that need to move and are no longer protected by rent control, it’s not surprising to see such big increases this year,”  says Anastasia French, Living Wage for Families provincial manager in a news release.

READ MORE: Food bank demand increases as inflation costs rise, report says

This year is also the first that Greater Victoria surpassed Metro Vancouver for a living wage, however neither has the highest in the province.

Both Daajing Giids, formerly Queen Charlotte, ($25.87/hour) and Golden ($25.56/hour) surpassed both regions for highest living wages.

Kelowna saw the largest increase in cost of living with an increase of $4.39, or 23.7 per cent.

“Until this year the living wage across most of BC remained below its 2018 peak because policy changes introduced by the BC provincial government significantly improved affordability for families with young children and offset increases in the cost of food, housing and other essentials,” says report lead author Iglika Ivanova, senior economist at CCPA-BC in a news release.

“However, the savings generated by these policy changes, including significant child care investments and the elimination of MSP premiums, have now been effectively wiped out by ballooning rent and food costs.”

READ MORE: The cost of living is surging for consumers on Vancouver Island

Of the communities surveyed, all had higher costs of living than B.C.’s current minimum wage, which is set at $15.65 per hour as of June 1, 2022.

The report says the cost of child care rising on average less than one per cent over the last year, with costs in Metro Vancouver reducing due to the BC Affordable Child Care Benefit.

While calculating the cost of living, CCPA notes it takes into account how much a family of four would need to cover necessities, support children’s healthy development, escape severe financial stress, and participate in communities. It does not include the “extras many take for granted.”

Some items not included in the cost of living calculation are:

  • 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.
  • Much of a cushion for emergencies or tough times
Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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