Editorial: Living wage leaves little room to spare

The latest calculations for the living wage in Victoria puts it at $20.50 per hour. Define living.

Calculated by the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria, the model considered a family with both parents working and two children. After shelter, clothing, food, transportation and medical expenses, a paltry $6.18 would be left over each year.

Enough for a coffee, maybe two, depending on where you like to get your caffeine fix. But what about when your car breaks down, when your hydro costs soar, when ICBC decides to increase your rates, when avocados jump from 79 cents a piece to $2.49? And if one of the bread winners happens to become ill, all bets are off.

The largest demographic in Greater Victoria is what is now called the “working poor.” Along with buzzwords like “affordable” and “living wage,” it’s a relative term. It seems impossible that some group calculator somewhere can hit the equal button and accurately represent the struggles of full-time working people in 2018.

There is a reason our food banks and other social support services around the region are finding themselves busier every year.

Calculating a living wage is tricky business. It can be leveraged as a benchmark for employers to offer fair compensation, but does it indicate a fair quality of life?Announcing that the living wage in Victoria is now $20.50 per hour should come with a warning that says: “As long as nothing goes awry.”

Greater Victoria residents are not alone in their struggles. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives reports the living wage across the province ranges from a high of $20.91 in Metro Vancouver, to a low of $16.59 in the Comox Valley.

And with the minimum wage set to hit $12.65 on June 1 and not reach $15 until 2021, there’s no end in sight for many.

Just Posted

Seven years later, what’s changed since the 2011 Malahat fuel truck crash and closure?

Trans-Canada Highway reopens to traffic Friday morning after roughly 13-hour closure

Eagle Creek Bosley’s closed after SUV crashes through storefront

Structural engineer called to assess building damage

Victoria Grizzlies host fundraisers for Europe tour

The Grizzlies still have player spots available

Sooke candidate seeks two positions in civic election

Herb Haldane runs for Sooke councillor and CRD director

Woman up on assault, mischief charges in relation to downtown incidents

Traffic cone throwing Wednesday night followed by knife threat on Wharf Street

Black Press Media to launch Pipeline Full of Controversy series

Series covers Trans Mountain’s history, science, Indigenous reaction, politics and economics

B.C. teacher charged with sexual offences involving two teens

Henry Kang, 50, of Abbotsford charged with two counts each sex assault and sexual exploitation

Military college students accused of violating Qur’an with bacon

Alleged acts by four cadets from the Royal Military College in Quebec caught on video

Burlesque performers don’t let theatre fire stop their show

Cheesecake Burlesque Revue raising money for PEERS with Saturday night performance of Hot Pink

Canucks sign top prospect Elias Pettersson to entry-level deal

Slick centre drafted No. 5 overall in 2017 NHL draft

Wildfire northwest of Kamloops jumps to 1,600 hectares overnight

Ground crews and aircraft are responding to an estimated 1,600 hectare wildfire approximately 55 kilometers northwest of Kamloops, near the Deadman Vidette Road.

Former B.C. police chief dies in ATV accident

Ex-Nelson top cop began his career in Vancouver

Highway 1 northbound traffic shifts to new lanes at McKenzie Avenue

Beginning this weekend, drivers are advised that the northbound lanes on Highway… Continue reading

Referendum in Ireland would repeal strict ban on abortion

Voters throughout Ireland have begun casting votes in a referendum that may lead to a loosening of the country’s strict ban on most abortions.

Most Read