A press release published in The Record recently noted that in the Comox Valley, a living wage would be $15.96. The wage needed to cover the costs of raising a family in Metro Vancouver is $20.62 per hour. Lower child care and housing costs account for the significant difference between the living wage in the Valley and Metro Vancouver. We know that child care and housing continue to be the two biggest costs in the living wage calculation.
The living wage is the hourly wage that two 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 Comox Valley Social Planning Society is the organization in the Valley that helped determine the living wage for its residents.
Because this is the first time we’ve calculated the living wage for the Comox Valley, we are now just establishing a baseline we can use in the future to determine how we’re doing in terms of affordability and poverty reduction. We don’t know yet exactly how many families earn less than the living wage but it’s well over 20 per cent.
Over 80 companies and organizations across BC, employing more than 8,000 workers and covering many thousands more contracted service workers, have been certified as Living Wage Employers. In the Comox Valley we have only one certified living wage employer, Precision Tree Services. We encourage all employers to join James Flawith of Precision Tree Services in becoming a living wage employer.
Working poverty is a Canada-wide issue. Over 50 communities across the country, including 21 in BC, have active living wage campaigns and are advocating to improve quality of life for
EM (Bunny) Shannon,
Comox Valley Social Planning Society