Working people in Metro Vancouver need to earn more than $18 an hour in order to meet the most basic costs of raising a family, a new report says.
The study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives focused on two-parent families raising two children in Metro Vancouver to determine what they would need to earn a so-called living wage.
It found that in order to pay for the essentials of food, rent, childcare and transportation, two people working full-time need to earn $18.17 an hour apiece.
One of the report's authors, Seth Klein, told CBC News the figure is based on a very conservative budget.
"There is no money for savings or retirement. There is no money for savings for a child's post secondary education. The family rents a home, they don't own. There is no money for debt or credit card interest," Klein said.
"It is a basic budget. I've had the experience of walking many employers and CEOs through the calculation, and I've never once had one tell me they think it's unreasonable," he said.
Since the first CCPA study two years ago, the living wage has risen nearly a $1.50 an hour.
Klein says rent for a three-bedroom apartment has risen nearly eight per cent since then and the cost of food, and child-care has outstripped inflation.
The report urges employers to raise wages up to the living wage level. Currently the minimum wage for adults in B.C. is $8 an hour.
Klein said employers who can't afford to pay people $18 an hour should lobby government for universal childcare and improved public services.
He pointed out that the City of New Westminster, located east of Vancouver, voted last week to become the first municipality in the region to adopt a living-wage policy for all staff and contract employees.