COVID-19 Pandemic Highlights the Need for a Living Wage

January 20, 2022

2021 Wall Scholar Bethany Hastie’s article in Policy Note is about how the pandemic and recent labour shortages in the food supply and distribution chain highlight the need to move away from a minimum wage model and towards a living wage — especially for those in precarious jobs characterized by part-time or casual labour, low wages, and few benefits and job protections.

The pandemic has both illustrated and spurred on a demonstrated need for a living wage. A living wage is one that allows a household to “meet its basic needs”. It is more than minimum wage. In Metro Vancouver, the calculated living wage for 2021 is $20.52 while the minimum wage is $15.20 … Many precarious jobs have typically paid at or near the minimum wage, with no attending benefits. However, for employers facing serious labour shortages, a living wage may be an attractive enticement for workers to enter and stay in these industries.

You can read the article in its entirety on the Policy Note blog.