August 08, 2014 - 12:34 PM
KELOWNA - The cost of living in the Central Okanagan has risen again in 2014.
A report from the Regional District says for a family of four to stay out of debt, at least one parent needs to earn a minimum of $18.42 per hour working full time.
Last year, the same family needed to earn only $18.01 per hour.
Social development program coordinator Christene Walsh says the increase of 41 cents an hour is mainly because of a 7.4 per cent rise in rental expenses.
“While overall expenses for the two parent, two child family have gone up 1.7% or $86.72 a month over 2013, approximately $80 of the monthly increase is attributed to higher rental costs,” Walsh says.
The number reflects the actual cost of living in the Central Okanagan and includes expenses such as food, rent, transportation, child care and education expenses as well as government taxes.
According to The Living Wage for Families website “without living wage standards, parents and other caregivers who work for low wages in B.C. 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.”
The website also says B.C.’s child poverty rate is the highest in Canada at 18.6 per cent, despite approximately one-third of those families having at least one fully employed parent.
“Unfortunately, the frustration of working harder and harder only to fall further behind is also an issue many B.C. residents can relate to,” the report says.
Vancouver, Greater Victoria and Fraser Valley also had similar increases in their living wage requirements since 2013.
The minimum wage in B.C. is currently $10.25 an hour.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014