A Greater Victoria resident working full time earning the provincial minimum wage would have to work 90 hours a week to afford a two-bedroom apartment, according to a new study. Only residents of Vancouver (112 hours) and Toronto (96) hours would have to work more.
The figures appear in a report from the Centre of Policy Alternatives titled Unaccommodating: Rental Housing Wage in Canada. The report sought to determine the rental wage, which the report defines as the hourly wage that a full-time worker must make to be able to rent an average two-bedroom apartment using no more than 30 per cent of their income, the threshold for affordable housing.
According to the report, the average rental wage across all of Canada is $22.40 per hour, with Victoria’s rate being $28.47. The provincial minimum wage is $12.65 as of October 2018.
“Importantly, because all provincial minimum wages are far lower than these average rental wages, it is not possible for many full-time workers [in Canada] to afford to live anywhere without spending more than 30 per cent of their income on rent,” it reads.
Looking across the country, the report finds that minimum-wage workers can “comfortably afford” the average two-bedroom rental rate in three per cent of the 795 neighbourhoods where rental and income data are available.
According to the report, 23 out 36 metro areas in Canada lack any neighbourhood where the average-priced one-bedroom is affordable to a minimum-wage worker, and 31 have no neighbourhoods where a two-bedroom apartment is affordable.
Greater Victoria, according to the report, has zero affordable neighbourhoods, be it for one-bedroom or two-bedroom apartments.
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