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Family living wage jumps to $20.46 in Greater Victoria

Dual wage needed to meet basic needs for family of four increases by 5.52 per cent from 2019 figure
The Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria has released its 2021 living wage report, showing that two parents in a four-person family need to earn $20.46 an hour to meet basic needs. (Black Press Media file photo)

Greater Victoria’s living wage estimate has been updated and local advocates say things are grim for lower-income residents.

Based on annual calculations made by the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria, the hourly wage two working parents with two young children must each earn to meet their basic expenses is now $20.46.

That figure shows an increase of 5.52 per cent since 2019, placing the region near the top of B.C.’s most expensive cities in live in – a shade lower than Metro Vancouver’s $20.52 living wage.

A release from the planning council explained that higher costs for such things as housing, child care and food were the main driver of this year’s increase in the living wage.

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The release noted that while B.C.’s minimum wage is currently $15.20, the basic cost to raise a family in many cities across the province far exceeds what’s provided.

“A $20.46 hourly living wage may seem high to some, but it is based on a bare-bones budget for a family of four,” Diana Gibson, the council’s executive director, said in the release. “It doesn’t include any savings for vacations, children’s’ education or retirement.”

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The council reported that the median rental cost for a three-bedroom or larger unit in Greater Victoria has gone up by over $100 per month on average in the past year.

Cost of living was one of the top concerns that Greater Victoria residents brought up in the region’s recent 2021 Vital Signs report.

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