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BC’s highest “Living Wage” right here in Powell River??!!

Posted by on Sep 19, 2016

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Living Wage Powell River, BC

Powell River is the most expensive place to live in BC.


That’s according to a map published online by the Vancouver-based Living Wage for Families Campaign. It’s creating some buzz on social media.

The map shows Powell River has a living wage of $21.30 an hour, whereas notoriously-unaffordable Vancouver’s living wage is just $20.64 an hour. Of the 21 reporting municipalities, Powell River has the highest living wage.

The calculation was originally created in 2007 by First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Living wages are calculated locally based on this scenario:

  • A healthy family of 4 with 2 children (aged 4 and 7)
  • 1 child in full-time daycare, 1 in before- and after-school care
  • 70 hours of employment between two parents, with each parent working 35 hours per week
  • One parent taking evening courses at a local college to improve employment capacity
  • Costs of living including transportation, food, rental housing, clothing, childcare, medical expenses and other
  • Inclusion of tax credits, returns and government benefits; namely child tax benefits.How much would these parents in Powell River have to earn per hour to make ends meet? $21.30 per hour, or $77,532 for the household.

Note: the actual median household income in Powell River for a two-parent family with children is $85,136, according to Vital Signs. Half of families earn more, and half less.

However as Vital Signs points out, more than half of Powell River paycheques don’t come close to a living wage amount:

“A living wage is based on what a family of four with two children aged 4 and 7 and both parents working full-time needs for food, clothing and footwear, shelter, transportation, child care, MSP premiums, non-covered health expenses, some continuing education for parents, and a two-week contingency cushion in the event of job loss or other loss of income… Based on this methodology the living wage for Powell River is $21.30/hour or $38,766/year.

“In 2010, there were 13,510 income earners in Powell River (CA). Of those, 53% earned below $30,000 and 39% earned below $20,000 for the year. Paying a living wage and preventing child poverty are very much linked, since the vast majority of poor children live in families with working parents.”

Do these numbers reflect your experience of living here – and elsewhere?

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