The Living Wage is the hourly wage that two working parents with two young children must each earn to meet their basic expenses (including rent, child-care, medical needs, food, and transportation), once government taxes, credits, deductions and subsidies have been taken into account. The Living Wage for our region is calculated annually by the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria (CSPC) and is based on a 35 hour work week. At $24.29/hour ($44,208 annually per parent), the 2022 Living Wage for Greater Victoria is a $3.83 increase from 2021. As those in the region can attest, the cost of living continues to soar.
Piloting the HART Method in Greater Victoria
What is affordable? Affordable for whom? When is affordability not enough? These questions are at the core of housing needs assessments that allow governments to meet the housing needs of everyone in the region.
The HART Method, developed by UBC's Housing Research Collaborative, offers an approach to determining local housing needs that includes housing size, the need for accessible homes, and the maximum costs for rent at specific income levels.
The Community Social Planning Council has piloted the HART Method of developing housing needs assessments for five areas in Greater Victoria.* Filling the Gap explores the HART Method and highlights the variations in local need by looking specifically at the municipalities of Sooke, Esquimalt, Saanich, and the City of Victoria in comparison to Greater Victoria.
Speakers at the event on September 20, 2022 included
- Carolyn Whitzman PhD, Invited Professor at the University of Ottawa and expert advisor to the UBC Housing Research Collaborative
- Nicole Chaland, housing researcher and paper co-author
- Luna, Homes for Living community advocate
Filling the Gap invitates discussion on the methodology and its local findings. It is part of the Community Council's ongoing series on housing affordability.
* The initial report uses 2016 census data as 2021 data had not yet been released during the report's writing. CSPC will update the analysis with current data when it is available.
While this summer has, so far, been on the cool side for Greater Victoria, the risk still exists for extreme heat events in July, August, and even September. Following the devastating heat dome in 2021 that killed 619 people in British Columbia - the majority of victims being renters, on low-income, and seniors - we hope this guide will help more British Columbians stay safe and well.
Canada is the first country to collect and publish data on gender diversity from a national census
Sources & Analysis:
On July 13, 2022 Statistics Canada released data from the 2021 Census that included a portrait of Canada’s families and households, and an income profile of Canadian households. This data update contained both good news and bad news for residents of Greater Victoria.
The good news? Incomes are rising for everyone from the lowest income levels (i.e. households with an income that is 50% or less of the regional median) to the highest (i.e. households with an income that is 120% or more of the regional median). As well, the median income in Greater Victoria is higher than the provincial median and very close to the national median.
The bad news? Incomes are rising more quickly for the people who are already making the most money. This means that people are making more money but have less left over for food, transportation, clothing, and other needs after meeting their housing costs.
Statistics Canada, July 13 Census data release: https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2021/dp-pd/index-eng.cfm
On June 22, 2022 local, provincial, and national experts on housing and homelessness discussed the CSPC's new report, Drivers of Homelessness: Findings for Action.
Speakers at the event included
- Esther de Vos, Executive Director of Research for BC Housing;
- Erin Dej, Assistant Professor at Wilfred Laurier University and researcher with the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness;
- Hannah Mang-Wooley, Tenant Legal Advocate at Together Against Poverty Society.
Drivers of Homelessness answers key questions and dissolves persistent myths regarding the ongoing housing and homelessness crisis in Greater Victoria:
- What are the most important structural and systemic factors that contribute to homelessness?
- How can we prevent homelessness by addressing these structural and systemic factors?
- How does early intervention fit into a broader homelessness prevention framework?
This event will include the launch of a SPARC BC funded report that examines the drivers of homelessness in Greater Victoria through the analysis of CSPC’s homelessness prevention program. The report will inform evidence-based conversations in the public and the media and support local policymakers in preventing and ending homelessness in our region.
View the infographic: Drivers of Homelessness Infographic
View the full report: Drivers of Homelessness Report
Women in the Capital Regional District continue to earn less than men. The gap is larger for visible minority women and women with diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Women annually earn between 30 and 75 cents for each dollar a white man earns.
Where does this gap come from?
Various intersecting factors feed into these income gaps—wage inequity, gender and culture specific norms, lack of childcare and caregiving responsibilities are just some examples. Women, and particularly visible minority women:
- Are more likely to be part-time, temporary and contract workers.
- Are more likely to do lower paying work, and conversely, compensation is traditionally lower for sectors in which the workers are mostly women.
- Earn less per hour on average for similar work to men.
COVID-19 has widened the gap. The lack of adequate childcare, school aged children at home, and the high impacts on tourism, retail, food and hospitality and other sectors where women and particularly visible minority women were hit hardest.
In response, the Canadian Human Right Commission states:
“If we are to restore momentum in our efforts to bring about gender equality in Canada, social and economic recovery efforts must take a feminist approach. Closing the gender pay gap and improving social services for women in vulnerable circumstances are a must.”
How can we narrow the gaps in the Capital Region?
Conduct pay audits in your organization. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business provides exercises to conduct an internal audit. While it’s specific to the Pay Equity Act in Quebec, the questions can be adapted to other jurisdictions.
Support flexible work requirements. Women are often forced to choose between work, childcare, and other family commitments. A flexible schedule that eases in-office requirements can help.
Publish wage/salary information in job postings. Providing salaries up front keeps unintentional bias from creeping into the hiring process. Publishing a range allows room to negotiate based on education and experience while ensuring candidates have equal starting places.
Write your MLA and encourage them to pass provincial legislation that outline protections, processes, and remedies that require all BC employers to provide equal pay and to make the minimum wage a living wage (See the CSPC’s annual calculation for the living wage).
About the data
Note: Gender earnings gaps were calculated from median annual incomes.
Data Tables: CPP-5a: Aboriginal identity (7), Age groups (6), Sex (3), Income status in 2015 – CPP (7) and Selected labour force, work activity and income characteristics (35) for the population 15 years and over with income in private households, 2016 Census
CPP-5b: Visible minority status (14), Age groups (6), Sex (3), Income status in 2015 – CPP (7) and Selected labour force, work activity and income characteristics (35) for the population 15 years and over with income in private households, 2016 Census
Definitions for various demographic groups are included in the Stats Canada data tables listed.
- Impacts on Immigrants and People Designated as Visible Minorities.
- Canada’s social and economic recovery efforts must take a feminist approach.
- Measuring and Analyzing the Gender Pay Gap: A Conceptual and Methodological Overview.
- Gender differences in employment one year into the COVID-19 pandemic: An analysis by industrial sector and firm size.
Pandemic, housing crisis, economic pressures — how are different families in Victoria experiencing this challenging moment, and how can we support their overall social, economic, and mental well-being and resilience in the region? The facts presented in this info sheet reveal where challenges continue to present themselves and point us in the direction of solutions.
Download a PDF of the No Family Left Behind Fact Sheet.
(Greater Victoria) Household expenses, particularly housing and food costs, are driving up the cost of raising a family, says the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria, in its 2021 Living Wage report, released today. Greater Victoria is a close second for the highest living wage in the province ( following Vancouver).