Living Wage in the
What does it cost to live in our region?
The living wage is defined as the hourly pay an individual must receive in order to earn enough to completely cover basic living expenses such as food, clothing, rental housing, transportation, childcare, and a small amount of savings for the event of illness or an emergency. The living wage figure varies based on the specific markets of a region, but it consistently encourages employers to pay significantly above the minimum wage to ensure the financial security of their employees and the wellbeing of their business(es).
The living wage calculation is a conservative, reasonable amount—predicated upon rentals, used vehicles, and other affordable options—intended to compensate for Canada’s stagnant wages, which have failed to rise to scale with the price of consumer products and the cost of living, particularly evident with the calculation for 2022. Additionally, the living wage practice has been shown to be an effective business model, and as such, has already engendered significant support from communities and business across British Columbia.
Traditionally, the living wage in British Columbia is calculated for a family consisting of two adults, both aged 31-50, and two children, one aged seven, the other aged four—the most common family unit in BC. The parents each work 35 hours per week and both earn an equal hourly wage.
The living wage is a figure calculated to determine the wage required to be earned by two parents in a model family of four in order to cover the costs of shelter, transportation, food, clothing, and all other basic needs.
In 2022 shows the highest yearly increase since Social Planning Cowichan began calculating Living Wage in 2014, by an enormous margin. While some gains were made in previous years to help affordability, such as newly introduced childcare benefits and the elimination of BC's Medical Services Premium (MSP), any relief has effectively been wiped out due to soaring housing costs and food prices, and the presently high rate of inflation. The gap between Living Wage and the provincial minimum wage ($15.65 per hour) continues to widen, life is rapidly becoming unaffordable for many working people in our region and others across the Province. This highlights the need for local employers to carefully consider whether the people who keep our local business economy running are compensated appropriately.
Living Wage in Cowichan increases by 21% in 2022 - Cowichan Valley Citizen
Editorial: Living wage spike raises thoughts of guaranteed basic income - Cowichan Valley Citizen
Governments, employers called on to support a living wage in B.C. - The Discourse Cowichan
We encourage all Cowichan businesses and organizations to adopt a living wage policy. Local businesses are now able to become certified Living Wage employers directly as part of the provincial campaign. Visit the Living Wage for Families BC website for more information on how to become certified!