Living wage calculation needed for Gabriola

Tuesday, October 20 2015

The City of Nanaimo has released a report which finds that the ‘living wage’ required to cover the costs of raising a family in the Nanaimo/Ladysmith region is $17.99 per hour.

This, according to the City, “would be the hourly wage that two parents working full time with two young children must earn to meet their basic expenses (including rent, child care, food, clothing, and transportation), once government taxes, credits, deductions and subsidies have been taken into account.”

There is no known living wage for Gabriola, it’s likely close to Nanaimo’s (Oceanside is $17.66, Cowichan is $17.55, Victoria is $20.05, Vancouver is $20.68).

Those responsible for the calculation point out this is a living wage - it does not include payments towards the future for retirement or childrens’ education. 

This kind of calculation is exactly the kind of number communities need to be talking about in conjunction with the concept of Attainable Housing (as opposed to the politically and emotionally charged topic of Affordable Housing).

The Gabriola Local Trust Committee is choosing to look at housing issues on Gabriola through the Attainable Housing lens. Knowing the living wage for Gabriola could help calculate what kind of attainment housing needs to be built on the island. And what kind of wage businesses could be setting as a benchmark.

According to the City staff, thirty-seven communities across Canada, including 18 in BC, have calculated their local living wages and are campaigning to improve quality of life for low-wage workers. Gabriola should become #38.