EDITORIAL: Many still struggle to make ends meet

Census data shows wage increase isn’t keeping up with inflation

If you get the feeling your rising wages over the last decade aren’t keeping up with the cost of goods and services, you’re right. Statistics Canada recently released its latest batch of data from the 2016 census, showing that median household income rose 12.6 per cent between 2005 and 2015.

And while that sounds like good news on the surface, it is tempered by the fact B.C.’s rate of inflation in B.C. over that period was 18.9 per cent, more than 50 per cent higher than the jump in wages.

In what is described as a booming B.C. economy, clearly not enough is trickling down to the middle and lower classes. (The one-percenters, however, are still doing OK. One per cent of the population made more than $250,000 in 2015. That’s up a third from 2005.)

But those at the low end, and even much of the middle class increasingly struggle due to the disparity in rising wages and inflation. Of course, the biggest hurdle in all of this is real estate and rental prices.

Income may have risen 12.6 per cent, inflation may have been 18.9 per cent, but the price of housing has grown ever higher, and continues. For those looking to purchase a home – be it a detached house, townhouse or condo – coming up with a minimum down payment is increasingly hard.

For those renting, simply finding a suitable option is difficult, as demand continues to outweigh supply throughout the Capital Region.

When they were in power, the BC Liberals touted balanced budgets and a strong economy as a reason to vote for them. But even in the strong economy they took credit for, many couldn’t find affordable housing and working-class wages remained stagnant. In many ridings across the province, that frustration showed in the polls.

Time will tell if the recent change in the provincial government – as well as tax changes in Ottawa – will help the trickle turn to a flow or, as the now opposition BC Liberals claim, NDP policy will stifle the economy making things even worse.

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