April 27, 2016 - 6:00 AM
KAMLOOPS - The cost of raising a family is rising but thanks to a change in federal policies the living wage needed to cover those costs has decreased in Kamloops, a provincial advocacy group says.
While the cost of child care, shelter and food have gone up, the living wage needed for a family with two working parents and two young children has decreased to $17.21 per hour, down 74 cents from 2012.
A breakdown of expenses shows Kamloops families are spending an average of 28 per cent of their money on shelter and 23 per cent on child care, several advocacy groups say in a joint media release. Another 14 per cent is spent on food and nine per cent on transportation, with other items such as clothing, parent education, and health-related expenses making up the remainder of expenses.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives B.C. and the Living Wage for Families Campaign attribute the decrease to the expansion of the Canada Child Benefit, which was announced in the 2016 federal budget
“The Kamloops living wage rate demonstrates that good public policy can have a positive impact on the lives of families,” Louise Richards of the Kamloops and District Elizabeth Fry Society says in the release. “However, we need commitment from all levels of government in order to do more than balance out rising costs. A poverty reduction plan for B.C. would make a difference to families in need in this area.”
According to the release, 2011 data shows one in five B.C. children are poor and one out of every three poor children lived in families where at least one adult had a full-time, full-year job and a majority lived in families where an adult worked at least part-year or part-time.
Living wages also decreased in the Capital Regional District, $20.02 per hour, Parksville-Qualicum, $16.76 per hour, Prince George, $16.52 per hour, Vancouver, $20.64 per hour and the Fraser Valley, $16.28 per hour. The Central Okanagan had a living wage of $18.42 as of 2014, according to the release.
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