The living wage in Revelstoke is on the rise.
According to the most recent calculation released wednesday, it’s currently $19.37 an hour. That’s 60 cents higher than the 2017 figure, and works out to about $70,000 a year for a working family with two children.
To put that number in perspective, the 2018 living wage for Victoria is just over a dollar more at $20.50 an hour, and the living wage for Metro-Vancouver was calculated at $20.91 an hour.
Those numbers were released Wednesday by Living Wage for Families, (LWF) who compiled the figures in partnership with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
While a LWF media release stated that overall the living wage across the province only increased slightly, City of Revelstoke social development coordinator Jill Zacharias, who helped put together the local calculation, says the reason she believes the living wage increase in Revelstoke was substantial this year is because of the high cost of housing.
She called the local calculation “conservative,” saying that the high price of housing cancelled out significant policy initiatives of the B.C. Government, like a reduction in MSP premiums and child care fees, both of which factored into the calculation.
“The main reason for the increase is the high cost of housing,” said Zacharias. “And I would say even that our number is a conservative estimate.”
Zacharias said that during the calculation of the figure, which was completed by the Revelstoke Poverty Reduction Working Group, she calculated the average price of a three bedroom rental in Revelstoke was $1641 a month, a figure she again called, “conservative.”
“We all know that really, that’s a low figure,” said Zacharias. “A two bedroom can go for as much as $1500.”
In a media release, Zacharias said that according to a 2015 figure 19 per cent of local families with two children are making less than $70,000 a year.
Zacharias said the intention of the calculation is to help the City develop policy moving forward.
“We are in this for the long term,” said Zacharias.
The living wage is the hourly wage two working parents with two children need to make to meet their basic expenses, assuming they work 35 hours a week.
Childcare, housing and food were the largest figures in the local calculation.
The 2017 living wage calculation for Revelstoke was $18.77 an hour.