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Working Poverty in Metro Vancouver: the extent of the problem and realistic solutions

Today the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) released a study on poverty in Vancouver. The report, Working Poverty in Metro Vancouver, presents sobering details on the increasing levels of poverty in the region. It also dispels an important myth about poverty: that getting a job will help lift a person out of poverty.

Poverty in B.C.’s largest city is increasingly a story of low paid and precarious work. Many of the jobs created since the recession of 2008 are part-time, temporary and low paid. Metro Vancouver’s otherwise strong economy increasingly relies upon these workers in security, catering, cleaning and other services.

Toronto and Vanouver have the highest working poverty rates in the country. Making the lives of the working poor even more difficult, they also have the highest costs of living in the country.

In Metro Vancouver in 2012:

  • Just over half (54 per cent) of the working poor were married or living common law
  • 42 per cent had dependent children
  • 24 per cent were between the ages of 18 and 29

The CCPA’s report presents a way forward, and suggests several measures that can begin to eliminate working poverty. Detailed policy recommendations include raising the minimum wage, strengthening employment standards, creating affordable housing, providing high quality childcare, and other changes and investments in our social infrastructure. These are investments that are long overdue. They should be made now.

Click here to read Working Poverty in Metro Vancouver.