The Vital Signs report defines a living wage as the hourly rate required to live a “bare-bones” life—for example, room for a contingency fund, but none for loan or interest payments, retirement savings, home ownership, or much extra spending beyond basic living expenses.
According to a 2019 presentation from the RMOW’s Economic Development Team, Whistler’s living wage was set that year at $25.37 per hour, per adult working 35 hours a week for 52 weeks a year, based on a two-income family with two children.
That figure hasn’t been updated since before the pandemic, but if Whistler’s living wage assessment grew at a similar pace to Vancouver’s, that would mean a 17.3-per-cent increase over the last year, for an estimated hourly rate of $30.18 per adult, according to the report.
In 2020, women in Whistler made a median annual wage of $41,200, or about $22.64 hourly, while local men earned a median total income of $47,600, or $26.15 per hour. About 56 per cent of Whistler’s population of 13,983 took home a total annual income of $50,000 or less in 2021, or $27 per hour with a 35-hour workweek.
With those figures in mind, a major theme that emerged throughout the report was Whistlerites’ increased reliance on community services in recent years.
The Whistler Food Bank, for example, saw a record 9,365 visits in 2021, compared to 5,782 in 2020; 3,005 in 2019; and 2,773 in 2018. Whistler Community Services Society’s outreach services, meanwhile, served an all-time high of 6,128 visitors seeking mental and emotional support in 2021, compared to 4,922 in 2020; 3,233 in 2019; and 2,040 in 2018.
“That’s massive,” said Mozes, pointing out that the number of outreach visits just about doubled every two years. Read the complete PIQUE article here.