City of Revelstoke
On May 1, the Living Wage for Families Campaign advised through a Media Release that living wage calculations for communities across BC decreased significantly this year.
Jill Zacharias, Revelstoke’s Social Development Coordinator stated that “the annual family income needed to make ends meet is now nearly $75,000 a year.”
In 2012, the Revelstoke Poverty Reduction Strategy was released using the ‘living wage’ calculation inherently as a ‘market basket measure’-type tool to assess the cost of living in our community. At that time, the cost of housing, food and child care were identified as the most significant influencing factors. Since 2014, Revelstoke’s living wage calculations have been updated to align with the Living Wage for Families BC campaign and other communities across the province.
December 2014 – $18.87 per hour
April 2017 – $19.19
April 2018 – $19.37
April 2019 – $18.90
Last year, the introduction of the federal Canada Child Benefit offset the rising cost of living, ensuring Revelstoke’s ‘living wage’ saw only a slight increase. This year, the introduction of the provincial Affordable Child Care Benefit and the Child Care Fee Reduction initiative ensured that for families with children, the cost of living has decreased. This puts money directly into the hands of families in our community. Without child care benefits, Revelstoke’s 2019 ‘living wage’ would have risen to $21.14 per hour.
According to Ms. Zacharias, it is important to note that the ‘living wage’ in Revelstoke did not decrease from last year as dramatically as in some other communities across the province – including Metro Vancouver. This is directly attributable to the cost of housing in particular, where costs are rising higher, more quickly than elsewhere.
Of the 13 communities across BC that completed the ‘living wage’ calculation this year, Revelstoke is the third highest. The Tofino/Clayquot Sound area is usually higher than Revelstoke as well, but they haven’t done the calculation for a couple of years.
Jill Zacharias said “We need to think about what this means for families and residents trying to make ends meet in our community. Many people are working more than one job. Many employers do what they can to incentify work – offering bonuses, benefits and, for example, allowing employees to eat a meal at work if they work in the food industry.”
Mayor Gary Sulz, Chair of the Poverty Reduction Working Group for the City of Revelstoke’s Social Development Committee, said “Policy can make a real difference, as seen by the examples set by higher levels of government. I look forward to working with our municipal partners, staff, and community members to address the challenges facing Revelstoke and further reduce the cost of living in our community.”