Major living wage increase across BC

Living wages have increased across the province, and the communities of West Kootenay and Boundary are no exception. They have all seen a significant increase from the 2021 rate, according to this year’s Living Wage Update report.

The increase is driven by two essentials that every family needs: food and shelter.

· In Trail, the new living wage calculation is $21.13 per hour for 2022, up 16% from last year.

In Castlegar, the living wage is $20.54 (this is the first year Castlegar has calculated a living wage)

· In Nelson, the living wage is now $20.83, up 6% from last year.

In Grand Forks, the 2022 living wage calculation is $20.05, a 17% increase

The living wage is the hourly wage that two full-time working parents must earn to support a family of four. Other communities across the province that have seen staggering living wage increases include Kelowna at $22.88, 23.7% more than last year; Victoria at $24.29, 18.7% more than last year; and Metro Vancouver at $24.08, 17.3% more than last year.

“With general inflation hitting a 40-year high this year, and with the cost of food rising even faster and rents rising everywhere, especially for families who have to move and are no longer protected by the control rents, it’s no surprise to see such increases this year,” says Anastasia French, Provincial Director of Living Wage for Families.

“Locally, we’ve all seen the cost increases and are finding our own ways to deal with them, regardless of our income,” says Heather Glenn-Dergousoff, poverty reduction program specialist at the Skills Center in Trail, l one of the centers of life in the region. salaried employers. “For the working poor, the concept of a living wage is a huge financial breakthrough that has ripple effects on their stress levels, health and well-being, job satisfaction and family life.”

“If you work 40 hours a week at minimum wage, you earn just over $32,000 a year. A living wage for a 40-hour week is around $42,000 per year. This difference will change the life of a family,” adds Glenn-Dergousoff.

The Skills Center is a non-profit organization that strengthens rural and industrial communities and workplaces in British Columbia through workforce skills development, training services, social development and programs. of poverty reduction. It provides job training and wellness programs for youth, mature workers, and equity-deserving groups to build a caring community of skilled, productive, and engaged people.

Michael A. Bynum