Dear Division 16,
Today in class we talked briefly about the “Living Wage”.
“A Living Wage is the amount of income an individual or family needs to meet their basic needs: housing, transportation, adequate, nutritious food. To maintain a safe, decent, dignified standard of living and save for future needs and goals.”
You can read more about it here: LIVING WAGE
The City of Vancouver and the Vancouver School Board are working towards being Living Wage Employers, which means that they would ensure all of their employees receive a Living Wage.
In Vancouver, the Living Wage has been calculated to be $20.68 per hour. Our current general minimum wage (the least you can legally be paid in British Columbia) is $10.68 per hour. 120,000 British Columbians earn the minimum wage.
For your assignment this week, please think about the idea of a Living Wage and read enough about the concept that you can answer the question effectively. You may need to do some additional reading.
Please answer ONE of the following questions:
- If the calculations are true and the minimum wage is about half of what it costs to reasonably live in Vancouver, and many people are earning the minimum wage, what impact might that have on communities? Please think deeply about this and imagine longer term impacts beyond the items in the quote above
- Do you agree with the concept of a Living Wage. Why or why not? Explain possible impacts on different people.
- Why do you think there is such a difference between the Minimum Wage and the Living Wage?
I look forward to your responses!
PS: if you would like to learn more, here is an article about a restaurant in Vancouver that is a Living Wage employer, so the employees all make the same salary and any tips that are left are donated to charity.