The Living Wage for Families Campaign raises awareness about the negative impact of low-wage poverty on families and communities throughout BC. It also advocates for what poverty researchers believe is a key solution to the province’s rising poverty rates – regional living wages that ensure basic living expenses such as food, clothing, shelter, transportation and child care can be met. The campaign’s living wage rate for Metro Vancouver, for example, is $20.10/hour.
Without living wage standards, parents and other caregivers who work for low wages in BC face impossible choices: buy food or heat the house, feed the children or pay the rent. The result is often spiralling debt, constant anxiety and long-term health problems. For many more parents it also means working long hours, often at two or three jobs, just to pay for basic necessities. All of which means little time is spent at home, let alone helping children with school work or participating in community activities. Unfortunately, the frustration of working harder and harder only to fall further behind is also an issue many BC residents can relate to.
- One in five (20.6%) children in BC live in poverty – higher than the national average
- 80% of all Metro Vancouver census tract areas had at least 100 poor children in them. Metro Vancouver as a whole has a child poverty rate of 20.2%
- 32% of poor children in BC – 44,500 children – live in families with at least one adult working full time, year round
- A single parent with one child, working full time, full year at the current BC minimum wage of $10.25/hr earns $8,000 below the poverty line
Source: 2014 Child Poverty Report Card