Rental rates are on the rise (Black Press file photo)

Minimum wage earners cannot afford rental properties in most of Canada

This is a crisis, and Canadians cannot afford to wait it out

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released a report last Thursday that shows minimum wage earners cannot afford 91 percent of one-bedroom rentals, and 97 percent of two-bedroom rentals in Canada.

Minimum wage in B.C. is $13.85 an hour, which is among the highest in the country behind Ontario, and Alberta. An average one bedroom rental property in the mid-island area is $1,200. If a minimum wage earner works a 40 hour work week they will earn $1,108 every two weeks, with a monthly income of $2,216 before tax. This means that the average rent payment is over half their monthly income not including utilities and other costs.

Many people will argue that minimum wage is not meant to be a livable wage, however minimum wage was initially designed to create a minimum standard of living to protect the health and well being of employees, according to a paper from Cornell Law School. Surely the “minimum standard” of living should include affordable housing.

The lack of affordable rental spaces leads many minimum wage earners to rent single rooms, which are often available for $450 – $650 a month. Costs of utilities will vary among different properties. For some renters, this is a model that works. They are able to afford their situation with roommates before moving on to a higher paying job.

Unfortunately, not all rental situations are created equal. For those suffering from mental health issues and chronic illnesses, living with others may exacerbate their symptoms and make life unmangeable. Some rental situations can prove unsafe, either through neglectful landlords or dangerous roommates. If someone is not comfortable in their own home, it is extremely difficult to succeed in other aspects of life.

What minimum wage earners and people beginning their careers need is affordable housing. One or two bedroom units that are $500 – $800 a month. This is a change that needs to be led by municipal, provincial, and federal governments. Currently, there is not enough incentive for developers to create affordable housing, as they’re unlikely to see a return on their investment.

It is simply not enough to raise the minimum wage. For minimum wage to truly provide the minimum standard of living, there needs to be an all hands on deck approach to housing affordability. This is a crisis, and Canadians cannot afford to wait it out.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP visits Wet’suwet’en camps, calls for Coastal GasLink pipeline to be ‘revisited’

Paul Manly met with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and the RCMP to talk about the ongoing situation

BREAKING: LSS evacuated after reports of ‘gas smell’

Students were evacuated to Frank Jameson Community Centre, but have since returned to class

Successful end to search for kayakers along the Chemainus River

Father and son located tired and cold, but otherwise OK

Ladysmith Art Council announces new Poet in Residence

John Edwards will serve as the inaugural Poet in Residence

‘Snowmaggedon 2020’ has passed, but 20-30 milimetres of rain expected Friday

Residents should brace for rain and clear drains to prevent localized flooding

Four things ‘not’ to do if you run into Prince Harry and Meghan in B.C.

Here is a list of some things you definitely should NOT do, according to the BBC

B.C. RCMP spent roughly $750K on massive manhunt for Port Alberni men

Manitoba RCMP helped with 17-day search through the province’s northern terrain

Future space homes could be made of mushrooms

NASA explores use of fungi to build structures in space

Island Bakery in Cobble Hill to close

Cobble Hill store in business since 1982

Man killed by police in Lytton called 911, asking to be shot: RCMP

Howard Schantz, also known as Barry Schantz was killed following a standoff at his Lytton home

Canadian public health agencies ramping up preparations in response to new virus

Health officials have said there are no confirmed cases of the emerging coronavirus in Canada

‘Naughty boy’: Monty Python star Terry Jones dies at 77

The comedian has been suffering from a rare form of dementia

Vancouver Island man arrested after police seize suspected illicit drugs in Nanoose Bay

Car impounded after Port Alberni driver clocked travelling at more than twice the posted speed limit

Most Read