Places like Prince George and the rest of North Central BC continues to be the cheapest place to raise a family with a living wage of $16.51.

That’s according to the Living Wage for Families Campaign who says the hourly wage is needed to cover the cost of rent, food, childcare, and transportation.

Having the lowest living wage in the province does have its advantages says Integris Credit Union Communications Officer, Cori Ramsay.

“It is a benefit to Prince George having a lower range living wage as you look at communities like Vancouver that are well over $20/an hour and the job landscape here in Prince George is a lot better than the Lower Mainland because of more opportunities.”

She feels the biggest cost risers in the north are also a lot different compared to our southern counterparts.

“The two biggest increases are child care and transportation in Northern BC which is a little bit different than the Lower Mainland where they see extreme increases in housing where it’s a really big issue but our housing market has remained steady the past few years.”

Over the past year, transportation has gone up $65 per month in the north – Ramsay believes the biggest challenge for lower-income residents could be travelling to the province’s northwest following Greyhound’s decision to slash routers.

“With the discontinuation of Greyhound services in the north, it is going to make transit more uneconomical and I do not see that cost going down, I only see that going up in the future.”

“It takes quite a long time to get from here to Terrace, Prince Rupert or Kitwanga – those areas that were being frequently used by the Greyhound service are going to be really difficult as people are going to have to pay out of pocket for expenses and it’s really going to have a drastic effect on low-income families,” added Ramsay.

Another thing being bandied about is for more employers to offer living wages to employees instead of the current hourly or salary structure being offered.

Ramsay believes this could go a long way in reducing BC’s poverty problem.

“Poverty belongs to all of us and if we really make an effort to encourage the places we shop at, the businesses we work for to become certified living wage employers ensuring those people living in poverty and earning low wages have an ability to earn higher than that will make a difference on our tax system and on low-income earners and poverty in our province.”

Metro Vancouver has the highest living wage in BC at $20.91.