Living wage calculations for communities across B.C. decreased this year, according to a new report released recently from the Living Wage for Families Campaign.
Even though costs are increasing steeply for rent and other basic necessities, the cost of living for families with children is lower in 2019, states the report.
Revelstoke was one of the 11 communities which calculated the wage this year.
The living wage is the hourly amount that each of 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 are taken into account.
The 2019 living wage for Revelstoke decreased from $19.37 last year to $18.90.
However, Revelstoke went up one spot to requiring the third highest living wage in the province.
Jill Zacharias, social development coordinator for the City of Revelstoke, said at least 19 per cent of people in Revelstoke are financially struggling. She continued it’s possible that one in three residents are just making ends meet.
“But with no savings. They are just getting by.”
Zacharias said the annual family income in Revelstoke is roughly $75,000 per year for two parents and two kids.
While the cost of living is rising, the introduction of the provincial Affordable Child Care Benefit and Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative decreased the cost of living, said Zacharias, causing the living wage to go down.
Affordable Child Care Benefit is a monthly payment meant to assist British Columbia families with the cost of child care. And the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative lowers the cost of child care for parents each month.
“Those were major for putting hundreds of dollars in people’s pocket,” said Zacharias.
A press release from the City of Revelstoke, noted that the living wage in Revelstoke did not decrease from last year as drastically as in other communities due to the increasing costs of housing. According to the release, almost 35 per cent of someone’s wages in Revelstoke go towards housing, which is the largest cost. The next being food at just below 15 per cent. If applicable, childcare takes up 19 per cent of total earnings.
Zacharias furthered that Revelstoke needs to think about what it means for families and residents trying to make ends meet. Many work more than one job and she acknowledged that many employers do what they can to incentify work, by offering bonuses and benefits, such as allowing employees to eat a meal at work if they work in the food industry.
The highest 2019 living wage is in Metro Vancouver at $19.50 per hour, down from $20.91 in 2018.
About 30 per cent of Metro Vancouver two-parent families with two children have incomes below the 2019 living wage, according to the most recent Statistics Canada data available.