What is a Living Wage?

What is a Living Wage?

Vancity is one of Canada’s largest Living Wage employers.

A Living Wage is the hourly rate required for two working parents to meet the basic needs of a family of four. The family of four is the most common family size and the Living Wage for this family is a fair proxy for other family sizes and single adults. Currently, the minimum wage in BC is $14.60/hour and the living wage for Metro Vancouver is $19.50/hour. This means that families who work for low wages often face impossible choices: buy food or heat the house, feed the children or pay the rent. Paying a Living Wage allows individuals and families to meet their basic needs and contribute to their communities. A Living Wage means strong local economies, sustainable cities and healthy communities.

Vancity is committed to meeting (or exceeding) the annual Living Wage rate for our employees and our contracted suppliers. Although in 2019, the Living Wage rate went down slightly, as a direct result of government investments in childcare programs, we have committed to continue to pay the 2018 rate of $20.91/hour.

In previous years, the Living Wage rate in BC was calculated in the first few months of the year and released on May 1st. In order to align with other Living Wage campaigns nationally and around the world, the BC campaign had planned to shift the update and release of the annual wage rate to November. This decision has been made to align with the rest of the country and is important for the future work of the Campaign, as it sets the stage for us to develop a national certification program for large regional, cross-provincial and national employers.

While this change is important to note, the uncertainties and emergency government response initiatives related to COVID-19 have meant that it will be very difficult to accurately calculate living wage rates for any campaign this year. As a result, the living wage rates will remain at the current level until November 2021, the rate of $19.50/hour, with Vancity honoring the 2018 rate of $20.91/hour.

Living Wage vs. Minimum Wage

A Living Wage: impacting employees and their communities


As a Living Wage Employer we are building wealth into the communities where we live and work. It’s one of the best local economic development strategies we can employ.

We are committed to meeting the annual Living Wage rate for our employees and our contracted suppliers.

Are you an employer? Want some help on your Living Wage journey?

We want to share what we learned with other employers—the more employers who join us in paying a Living Wage, the more we can impact our local communities.

Download our guide: Living Wage roadmap for large employers (PDF, 1.9MB)

Download now

Email us at livingwage@vancity.com for more information

Vancity Living Wage milestones

A Living Wage tackles poverty

“More money in the hands of working families is an important way to solve family and child poverty.”

Learn more about the movement