A new report shows that Revelstoke is among the most expensive places to live in B.C. due to increases in the cost of food and housing. The 2022 living wage for Revelstoke is $23.60, an almost 21 per cent increase from the 2021 wage of $19.51.
A living wage is a family’s hourly amount to cover basic expenses. The living wage is calculated based on the most common family unit in B.C. — a family of four— two parents who work full time and two children. The calculation changes based on regional costs.
This year’s calculations saw living wages skyrocket around the province, something Living Wage for Families BC attributes to the increase in food and housing costs.
“With general inflation shooting up to a 40-year high this year, and with the cost of food rising even faster and rent increasing everywhere, especially for families that need to move and are no longer protected by rent control, it’s not surprising to see such big increases this year,” says Anastasia French, Living Wage for Families provincial manager.
A new report from Living Wage for Families BC, in partnership with CCPA-BC, shows that the price of groceries needed for a healthy diet for a family with two young children has spiked sharply this year, according to the latest B.C. food costing survey data. Food used to be the third most expensive expense but edged ahead of childcare following significant investments in childcare affordability made by the B.C. Government in 2018.
A press release from the City of Revelstoke says results from the city’s Community and Economic Development rent survey allowed for a more accurate reflection of the living wage in Revelstoke.
Golden calculated a Living Wage of nearly $2.00 more than Revelstoke’s. The city’s press release says the cost of owning a second car factored into the living wage in Golden and not in Revelstoke, where B.C. Transit provides an option for low-cost transportation.
Revelstoke’s Community Development Coordinator, Taha Attiah, notes the challenges around calculating a precise rural living wage; “fast-changing tourism destinations like Golden and Revelstoke face expenses typical of smaller remote communities, along with higher prices due to increased demand for goods and services, additional shipping costs, and a rising average income level.”
The press release says the City of Revelstoke currently has grants for updating the Poverty Reduction Strategy and Food Security Strategy, which focus on supporting residents affected by rising living costs through recommendations for various initiatives.
A considerable gap exists between the 2022 living wages for communities across B.C. and the province’s minimum wage, currently $15.65 an hour. Living wages are calculated as an opportunity for employers to do better and can help lift working families out of poverty.