Golden Community Coop says local living wage is over $22/hour – The Golden Star
The living wage in Golden is $22.07/hour, one of the highest in the province, according to the Golden Community Coop (GCC).
The living wage is calculated based on a two-parent family unit, which is the most common family unit in British Columbia, with each parent working full time, which is 35 hours per week.
The living wage varies from region to region and is influenced by basic expenses such as the cost of food, clothing, rental housing, child care and transportation.
The GCC looked at every expense and found that for a two-parent family unit, the cost of housing averaged $1,800 per month, plus utilities, food expenses averaged about $1,148 per month. and clothing and footwear at $2,612 per year.
Childcare costs were set at $16,324 per year at Golden and transportation at $5,000.
Jill Dewtie, executive director of the GCC, says it’s important to remember that the cost of living is also just above the poverty line.
She says it doesn’t deal with hobbies or other extra expenses.
One of the limitations of the practice is that it does not consider single people or other family units, she added.
Caroline Tremblay, who helped calculate the rate, says the GCC is proud of its work and is pretty sure it’s accurate for Golden because they’ve matched prices for things like groceries on the way at local stores to see actual prices.
“Hear in Golden, we went through the process outlined by Living Wage BC, but with local numbers on some things,” Tremblay said.
“It’s usually an annual process, but they skipped last year because of COVID, but we’re partnering with them.”
According to data from Living Wages for Families BC, Golden’s living wage is said to be the highest in the province among the communities included in the cost of living calculations.
They list Metro-Vancouver’s living wage at 20.52/hr, while comparable communities in the Kootenays, such as Revelstoke, are listed at $19.51/hr.
The organization says the living wage in all communities for which it is calculated is higher than the BC minimum wage.
“The reality is that a number of families across British Columbia are earning less than a living wage and are struggling to make ends meet with the rising cost of living, especially the cost of housing,” said Anastasia French, Living Wage for Families BC Organizer.
The GCC worked with Work BC and Living Wage for Families BC, following Living Wage Canada’s calculation guidelines while updating local costs for food, clothing and footwear.
A living wage is different from the minimum wage, which is set by the government, because a living wage reflects what the earners of a family need to take home to live comfortably in their community.
“We hope local employers will understand the cost of living and start moving towards paying living wages,” Dewtie said.
“We fully understand the labor shortages here in our community and our region, and when we have these conversations about attracting and retaining labor, we need to talk about wages.”
Dewtie says helping people achieve a living wage doesn’t always come down to extra pay on their paycheck.
Seh said it sometimes comes down to providing benefits, such as flexibility with sick days and childcare, or medical benefits to help reduce other living costs.
She also says it’s not about employers, noting that the main purpose of the exercise is that it should be used as an educational tool to start a dialogue in the community.
“The living wage is supposed to be a poverty reduction tool,” Dewtie said.
“What does it take to thrive in Golden? How can we build a community where everyone has a chance?
According to Living Wage Canada, more than 374,000 families and 477,000 full-time workers live in poverty in Canada.
Many more work part-time or shifts and are also unable to make ends meet.
The CCG continues to work on its Community Economic Development Strategy, with the next phase seeking public input on the draft strategy.
CED’s strategy will co-create a plan with residents for community-led development that contributes to a vibrant and healthy social, economic and environmental landscape where all residents have access to a good quality of life and a sustainable future.