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Study: living wage set at $13.45/hr for individuals

The community of Williams Lake has a living wage benchmark.

A recent Social Planning Council of Williams Lake and Area study has set the living wage based on the size of the family unit and the cost of meeting minimum needs.

For a single person the wage is $13.45 per hour.

A single parent with one child is $14.06.

And for two parents with two children with two incomes it is $15.77 per parent.

Monica Johnson, who is on the board of directors for the social planning council, is careful to point out that a living wage is not the same as minimum wage — which is currently set at $8 an hour.

A living wage is the minimum amount needed for an individual to meet the necessities of life such as shelter, food, utilities, transportation, education, childcare, and health care.

Johnson says the organization’s goal is not to determine what amount is enough.

“Our goal is to provide information to the community,” she says.

“It’s a reference point so that people understand what it actually costs to live in Williams Lake and to meet basic needs.”

The living wage is determined using a mathematical formula from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and other groups calculating expected expenses and actual costs in a community relative to a person’s family situation.

The data is a reference point for the community, for business and for the not-for-profit sector, says Johnson.

She notes it can be used by these groups to determine where they are in with their wage structures.

The council will make a final report this month on the living wage and include a summary of businesses that participated in their survey, their wages and benefits.

For more information on the Social Planning Council of Williams Lake and Area visit http://socialplanningcouncil.blogspot.com.

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