April 25, 2016

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:

  1. 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
  2. Do you agree with the concept of a Living Wage.  Why or why not?  Explain possible impacts on different people.
  3. 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.




  1. Amythest

    3. I think that there is such a difference between living wage and minimum wage because if you’re living off of the minimum wage if you add it up in a year you could probably have enough food and everything else, but if you live off of the living wage which per hour is 10$ more. There’s also such a big difference because you need food as least three meals a day. If you have the minimum wage you might be able to have two meals every day or one some days.

  2. 14A Dinosaur

    There is a large difference between minimum wage and living wage because over the years, houses have grown more expensive very quickly, where minimum wage has slowly increased. This is a problem because the amount it costs to buy a house is more than you can make in a decade. This means that people aren’t buying their houses, and instead rent. There are few ways we can fix this problem. Housing prices can be lowered, or subsidized, or minimum wage can be increased. I believe this might be because the government wants to keep people with the most money happy, because they have a big stake in the country. If they leave, or lose all their money, Canada’s economy could suffer with them. The Liberal government is considering a wage increase to make this situation better. Business owners are probably going to resist paying their workers any more than they already do, however, I still think it’s a good idea because people need more money to live.

    • dickensdiv16

      14A dinosaur, I’m glad you brought up the different rates at which things change. The cost of housing and the cost of food have been increasing faster than the minimum wage and that makes a big difference to people and families! Good thinking!

  3. The Baconator

    It would affect communities if everyone got payed the minimum wage because everyone wouldn’t have very much money so they would spend it wisely. They would only spend it on stuff that they need to survive. Some of these things might be food, water and a small coaction of clothes. This would mean that they wouldn’t have money to buy stuff that they want. The companies that sell things that you don’t really need would start to fail because they wouldn’t make enough money. People also wouldn’t be able to donate to organizations of fund raisers. Eventually they would fail to from lack of money. Some long term effects would be unemployment. This would happen to most people because if people don’t buy from places they need to be shut down and with it, all the people that work there.

    • dickensdiv16

      The Baconator, you really made some interesting connections here and thought deeply about the ways that low wages would affect the province, including the economy and the concept of charity! Well done!

  4. The Bean

    #3 I think some that needs to be considered before arguments are made, is that the living wage for VANCOUVER is $20.68 an hour but the $10.68 minimum wage is for all of BC, the provincial government has to consider all of the province when setting the minimum wage. Like if the minimum wage was $20.68 for all BC then businesses in small towns might not be able to pay their employees because it would cost them to much money. But since the wage is considerably low for Vancouver, big businesses can take advantage of it and pay there workers less then what they need to live on. It’s very problematic in a province with lots of communities in all different economic states. Interestingly the Territories have 3 of the 5 highest minimum wages in the country right now, Nunavut is the highest at $13 per hour and is a good example of governments thinking more living wage then minimum. Since most food needs to be imported and workers want more money to work all the way up there they need to pay workers more. But in Nunavut these conditions are the same all across the province so the minimum wage is higher. But Because of rising prices for everything from food to housing in VANCOUVER, the PROVINCIAL minimum wage is not enough to live on, which is why there is such a huge gap.

    • dickensdiv16

      You’re right to comment on how the cost of living is different across regions in BC. I see that you’ve done your research about the cost of living and the cost of food and how these may not be obvious! Well done.

  5. crazymemeslol123

    3. I believe that a living wage and a minimum wage is very diffrent. Living wage:is a great way to make enough money to support families In need a of bad job or they just don’t pay enough I say the living wage should be included in all of Canada the families need food,water,housing,and cloths and they can have it all if a living wage is in all jobs around Vancouver. Minimum wage:is opposite from living wage you get half of what living wage can give you and most jobs just give minimum wages only so they don’t have enough money to make a living for their family members.

    • dickensdiv16

      Great points, crazymemeslol123, you’re right that there are a lot of things that families need to survive in a city, and this is challenging to provide on minimum wage!

  6. Rouge

    #1 Many people living on the minimum wage would impact communities a great deal. Without money to spend less people would be shopping at local stores which would mean less profit and lots of business’ would go out of business or go bankrupt from lack of sale. Also communities would have less or no money to spend on charity events, block parties, barbecues, neighborhood watch and other important necessity’s that make communities come together and connect with each other. Because the people living in the community have less money they wouldn’t be able to put forward money for future community events or safety watches. If people are making the minimum wage they will barely be able to afford a house and so there will be lots of empty houses and lots in neighborhoods because hardly anyone can afford to buy or rent it. This can sometimes result in the houses being vandalized or becoming a safety hazard to the community if it is gets old or wild animals start to live inside it. Another impact this would have on communities would be if someone who rents next door or lives in a basement suite were to live only off the minimum wage, the neighbours would come together to help support that person/family so that they can keep feeding their family and keep living in a home.

    • dickensdiv16

      Rouge, you’ve thought deeply about the ways that economic hardship affects the fabric of our communities, and also about the human spirit! I love reading your blog posts!

  7. super cheese cake

    #1 If the calculation is correct. Lets say a family is earning under the living wage, here are some possible impacts………
    -Food: If a family doesn’t have enough money they can probably eat but the food will not be healthy enough. And the nutrition they get is not well balanced. They could get sick.
    -Clothing: They could have the clothing they need but the problem is if they don’t have enough money they won’t be able to buy the proper clothing they are supposed to wear.
    -Housing: If they don’t have enough money they wont be able to buy their own houses and will have to rent from others. But the rent is going up. They will have less money to fulfill other needs.
    -Transportation: They won’t be able to buy a car if they don’t have enough money. They could be constrained by their budget for using public transportation. That could cause a serious issue because if we aren’t able to travel and say there is a event somewhere far from home they won’t be able to go there and have fun or get educated.
    -Social life: Without enough money, they won’t be able to go to some events and they won’t be able to make friends because sometimes you just kind of make a friend in a random café. Without enough money they will be relatively isolated.
    -Education: Some of the opportunities can really change a person. He may be an artist. But you just have to send him to some specialty classes to find out. Without enough money some people’s good talent may be kind of wasted.
    -Saving for future goals: No money means no saving up. No saving up means no future plan. And no future plan means……….. well, without some goals your life will be like “I have 10 bucks let’s spent it all”. And you kind of will lose the feelings of hope. For example “oh wait I really want an interesting book and I will save up for it” . It will be pretty much like only today stuff.
    These cause unfairness and people might feel angry. These can lead to conflicts in the society.

    • dickensdiv16

      Super cheese cake: This is an excellent response. You’ve shown that every aspect of a family’s costs are important and can shape the future of children and adults. I also like how you concluded with thoughts about our larger society. Very well done!

  8. smeagaleater10

    2# I agree with the idea of living wage partly because it provides enough money to fill the basic needs of a single person no matter the job or location. Though the thing that I do not like about living wage is that it does not cover investments or RESP’s. I think in every job’s interview the interviewee has to prove that they are not or are being financially supported by their family. After the interview the employing company has a certain time to send that information to the government so that the person is getting a small fund for investments as long as they are not financially supported by their family.
    I think that the living wage idea is most likely to target the owners of the company and Canadian government leaders. But it could also backfire and target the employees in ways of the employing companies not having enough money to provide benefits the their employees.

  9. Shadow145

    #3 the diffrences between living wage and minimum wage is that living wage could provide enough money for familys,food,housing and transportation while minimum wage pays the lowest amount of money that cant provide enough for much things. Example: Living wage can provide 100% of what you need for housing,transportation and food while minimum wage can provide about 50% of what you need maybe you might have to skip breakfast,lunch or dinner or you would even have to skip breakfast and lunch to provide enough for housing or transportation and other types of things that maybe are important.

  10. Den10@Sea43

    The living wage experiment was a great thing to do because it shows that if the minimum wage is not enough then we can change that. Also I think that this type of money is bigger to some people then others. Like if you are coming from a poor Country then you would think that this money could last you a lifetime but but since Vancouver is very expensive they might be overwhelmed on how much things cost.

  11. Soccerboy123ABC

    I think that the difference between the minimum wage and living wage is that the living wage is able to provide you with enough money to do a little more than your basic needs like you are able to use transportation,buy cloths and buy more food than you might eat .the minimum wage Lets you just etc the essentials like food shelter and coths/warmth and in Vancouver because all the prices of food and housing are going up it makes it harder for people to get the essentials and since we are not a poor country it would be easier to just get the minimum wage if everyone else was more poor and the food prices are lower so I think that we shouldn’t be taking the money for granted because other people in other westernized countries are getting paid less than you.

  12. purple pickle

    #2 I agree with the concept of a living wage because it is like the minimum wage but with the living wage you can actually buy more expensive things, whereas if you have a minimum wage you can’t really buy things that make your life easier or things that you would enjoy because you would need to buy food and one of those products that you enjoy or make your life easier might cost at least a month of your wage, heres an example of an impact of minimum wage on a person who sews or knits, you need to buy a new sewing machine, but your wage is too low and you can’t afford one, so you can’t sew anymore because lets say your first sewing machine broke and that why you wanted a new one in the first place, so instead you go out to the store so buy some yarn and some new knitting needles, because your old ones are all worn out form so much use, you see the prices of the knitting needles and you see the prices of all the types of yarn you would like to get to make the scarf or socks or sweaters you would like to make, you add up everything you would like to get in your head, it’s too much money so you end up having to go with limited types of yarn, and your project will look more bland, whereas if you were paid living wage you would be able to probably afford the new sewing machine and you would be able to afford all the types of yarn you want to get plus the sewing needles.

  13. Crazychicken lover

    3. First of all the minimum wage is a huge 10 dollars gap from the living wage and that is a huge gap from 20.68 dollars and first of all minimum wage is not for living your whole live on, its made for people who have just started there career and need a little side money before they go to college. Living wage is where you are in a job where it will and can support you for your whole life. In the 1800s where you could buy a house and a few acres of a yard for 2000 dollars hence where in the 20th century you need at least 100 grand to get yourself a decent house and now that the house sales have gone skyward and the economy is messed up minimum wage is nowhere close to helping you ensure a good life.

  14. DancingPorcupine

    2. I agree with the concept of living wage because I think that it is important that people can sustain themselves and their families. The impact on people that have a family would be that they could sustain their family or if other people in their family work they could be making more money for things like vacations. The impact for someone that lives alone would be that they would have more money for things that are not necessities like vacations because they don’t have as many people that they need to buy things like clothes and food for.


    #1 To live in Vancouver you need to earn $20.68 an hour, but some people only earn $10.68. These 120,000 workers who earn the minimum wage face challenges such starvation, malnutrition and go into poverty. This is because a large amount of their income is spent on paying rent. This would also cause problems regarding transportation. For example if you lived in a apartment in Surrey, but your job at McDonalds was downtown then a train ticket down would cost a lot plus 1 to go back. Also when you got back, rent would take away household needs like heat, washers, dryers, and a dishwasher. Another problem would be food. With a good wage someone will have the ability too buy better organic food, but with a minimum wage you will only be able to afford the foods with pesticides. 😦

  16. Smallbrowndog

    #2 Even though Vancouver is a great city it is fairly expensive so the concept of a living wage is something that should be considered as is mandatory to meet like the minimum wage so people can live a very money worry free life. I really think that this could help the jobs in Vancouver go down because small businesses may not have enough money to pay their employees so that would effect the jobs also the people would be affected because now they could support themselves and their families as well. This is something that should be taken up by the government so that Vancouver can be recognised as a city that people can benefit from!

  17. Ginger

    There are many long-term impacts of a low minimum wage that could be significant to a community. Because Vancouver is a very expensive city to live in, it is very hard for people earning a minimum wage income to get housing, resulting in people living on the streets, without homes. I think that one thing that might affect the community is possible stereotyping, not by the people who are living without a home, but by people living around them. Sometimes “better off people” can be scared or worried by people who live on the streets because they might have to rely on illegal or socially unacceptable ways to earn more money. Another effect might be that people feel less secure and participate in fewer community events and activities due to their fears.

  18. The Dude

    I agree with having living wage in Vancouver, because it could really help a lot of people. Because there are still quite a few people who have minimum wage jobs who have at least 4 or 5 children, who have a lot of trouble feeding their family and paying the rent, etc. Also, in Vancouver, it is especially hard for even people with living wage jobs, to keep up with the prices.
    A living wage job would it make a pretty big difference to a lot of people, because $20 a hour they would be able to buy groceries for their family, clothes to keep them warm and heat for their houses. The only other problem would be getting enough money to pay the rent.

  19. Joaquin

    I do agree with the living wage because it can help family’s to have money for clothes,transportation,food etc.This will not help family’s with 3 or more kids.

  20. Arcticowl

    3# I think there’s a huge difference between living and minimum wage. because $10.68 per hour is like how much a dog walker would get paid.Then a living wage is something a real job would pay. Because to buy a house in Vancouver is more than a million dollars so $10.68 isn’t gonna get you anywhere. Also you have to pay bills and taxes. Pay for food clothes and much more. I think the living wage is a reasonable payment though.

  21. GamingPickle84

    #2 There is a big difference between living and minimum wage because… living wage is double minimum wage. I think everyone should get the living wage at least because we live in Vancouver and it is the most expensive city in the would so they could work good shifts and be happy about their job.living wage is a great idea and it should be the new minimum wage.

  22. balloongirl123

    I do agree about the living wage in Vancouver because lots of people/parents needs jobs to help there family kids and more. And also kids and parents needs food to clothes to wear.

  23. Sr.Fruitcake

    #3 I think there is a big difference between the minimum wage and living wage is so big because I would imagine that the study that showed us the living wage is more recent than the minimum wage. And in my opinion the government is taking its sweet time to change the minimum wage to something closer to what is required after that study. I also think the government is being selfish, they pay businesses to do what they do. If the the minimum wage goes up then they will have to pay businesses more so they can pay there employees. I think there is a circle of effects that could only work out positively if the government decides to raise the minimum wage and push the economy higher.


    #3 I think that there is a huge difference because things that are necessary now days are quite expensive like all the proper foods, transportation, a stable home and clothing. Another thing is why there is such a difference is because the government might not want all these stores (like gift shops, clothing stores and coffee shops)to become more expensive. This way Vancouverites and tourists don’t feel the prices are to high and then the government won’t want to have such a high minimum wage so that they can keep all these stores at pretty affordable prices.

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