Minimum wage should be more than half-livable

The difference between a living wage and minimum wage for a couple in the Cowichan Valley is $34,777.

Social Planning Cowichan calculates that the difference between a living wage and minimum wage for a couple in the Cowichan Valley is $34,777.

That is a huge discrepancy.

For anyone who has tried to survive on minimum wage, or who knows someone who does, this comes as no surprise.

Minimum wage, which was designed so that everyone who was working would be able to actually live on what they were making, hasn’t actually assured that in a long time.

That’s why we now have to talk about a living wage at all.

Most people with minimum wage jobs work several of them to try to make ends meet, and even then they don’t necessarily succeed in doing so.

There’s also the fact that many minimum wage jobs are not full time. Some businesses carefully calculate their employees’ hours so that they don’t reach that full-time threshold, so the company doesn’t have to start paying out benefits and the like above salary.

Then of course there’s the proliferation of contract work.

While British Columbia has had some raises in the minimum wage in recent years, we still have lowest minimum wage in Canada.

That’s set to change in September when the minimum wage gets a lift to $10.85 per hour from $10.45 per hour.

Still, those extra few cents per hour, welcome as they will be for low-wage workers, don’t begin to cover the rise in the cost of living over the last decade.

Hydro costs have gone up. Food bills are significantly more — over $300 per year according to the BC Food Report.

And the availability of affordable housing has never been particularly good.

The major argument against raising the minimum wage significantly to more reflect the cost of living has always been that it would hurt small business. And it’s not an insignificant issue.

But we just don’t believe that folks working full time should have to go to the food bank because they can’t afford to feed themselves, or choose between putting food on the table and heating their home in the winter.

Nor should they be forced to live in squalor because their housing budget doesn’t run to a clean, safe, and reliable roof over their heads.

People who are working hard deserve to at least be able to pay for the basics. And right now, the ends don’t meet.

Cowichan Valley Citizen

 

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: World-renowned urban planner encourages Cowichan Valley to ‘benchmark with the best’

CVRD welcomes Gil Penalosa, founder and chair of 8 80 Cities, as part of Place-Making Speaker Series

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP member poses as construction worker to catch distracted motorists

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP are taking action on distract driving this year and… Continue reading

VIU’s Cowichan campus promotes mental health awareness with new bench

Friendship Benchs visible at schools across the country

Save-On free $25 gift cards can go to Ladysmith Food Bank

Save-On-Foods is offering a $25 dollar reward to customers that they can… Continue reading

Ladysmith marijuana producer bought by Aphria in $230M deal

Ontario licensed marijuana producer Aphria has reached an agreement to acquire Ladysmith-based… Continue reading

Solitary-confinement veto a chance to address mental health: advocate

B.C. Supreme Court made the landmark ruling Wednesday

B.C. civil rights group files complaint about RCMP arrest of man who later died

Dale Culver, a 35-year-old Indigenous man was arrested in Prince George last July

UPDATE: City of Nanaimo senior manager dismissed

Chief operations officer Brad McRae no longer employed by the city

Lawyer says former B.C. government aide ‘barely guilty’ in ethnic vote scandal

Brian Bonney pleaded guilty to a breach of trust charge

Quite a few tears as homemade quilts distributed to residents of Ashcroft Reserve, Boston Flats affected by last summer’s fire

Quilters in B.C. and Alberta worked through the summer and fall to create more than 100 quilts.

Island Health: No need for alarm in wake of Victoria needle-prick incidents

Three incidents in a week prompts meeting between health authority, city service providers

B.C. coast loggers celebrate history, hope for improvement

Truck Loggers Association awaits B.C. NDP government’s new direction

Global Affairs aware of report of two Canadians kidnapped in Nigeria

The foreigners were heading south from Kafanchan to Abuja when they were ambushed around Kagarko

Whistler role in potential Calgary Olympic bid would be welcome: IOC

Calgary is mulling whether to vie for the 2026 Games, and could look to facilities in B.C.

Most Read