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

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

Bhagwan Mayer. (Photo submitted)
Organizer of transporting the World’s Largest Hockey Stick to Cowichan remembered

Bhagwan Mayer a “hard-working fellow who cared about his community.”

Pnina Benyamini strikes a yoga pose. (Photo submitted)
Many facets to energetic woman’s legacy

Benyamini taught yoga, belly dancing and more to an adoring public

FILE – British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry wears a face mask as she views the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Masks now mandatory in all public indoor and retail spaces in B.C.

Many retailers and businesses had voiced their frustration with a lack of mask mandate before

Island Health’s acting medical health officer for the central Island says schools are very safe, even after COVID-19 exposure at five schools in Nanaimo-Ladysmith this month. (File photo)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith and Qualicum superintendents ask Island Health about COVID-19 safety at schools

Central Island medical health officer answers questions parents have been asking

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

(Pixabay.com)
Man, 28, warned by Kootenay police to stop asking people to marry him

A woman initially reported the incident to police before they discovered others had been popped the question

Winston Blackmore (left) and James Oler (right) were sentenced on separate charges of polygamy this week in Cranbrook Supreme Court.
No more charges expected in Bountiful investigation, special prosecutor says

Special prosecutor says mandate has ended following review of evidence from Bountiful investigations

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

Parksville’s French Creek Harbour experienced a diesel spill on Nov. 23 after a barge and fishing vessel collided. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Coast Guard cleans up diesel spill in Parksville’s French Creek Harbour

Barge carrying fuel truck collides with fishing vessel

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

BC Teachers' Federation President Teri Mooring is asking parents of school-aged children to encourage the wearing of masks when possible in schools. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
LETTER: Teachers union encourages culture of mask wearing in B.C. schools

BCTF President Teri Mooring asks parents to talk with children about wearing masks in school

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Stock photo
Senior from Gibsons caught viewing child porn sentenced to 10 months

74-year-old pleaded guilty after police seized 1,500-2,500 images

Most Read