A new 2016 living wage has been calculated by the Central Alberta Poverty Reduction Alliance for individuals and families living in Central Alberta.  

With current economic realities CAPRA says a living wage is the amount of income that is required to meet basic needs including food, shelter, clothing, child care, transportation and some basic health care.

For those living in Red Deer each parent must make $13.81 to provide a family of four with a decent and dignified life.

For a lone parent with one child that number increases to $14.10 and for a single adult they must earn $13.68 to meet their basic needs.  

For communities outside of Red Deer that number is much higher with Blackfalds, Lacombe, Ponoka and Sylvan Lake needing to earn around $18.23 to provide the same for a family of four.

Harrison Blizzard Member of the CAPRA Living Wage Committee explains the difference and what community members can do.

“A lot of people may work in those communities but a lot of them do come into the city too, so there’s that added cost of transportation. So just be aware in the community of what can be done and advocate for those changes to the living wage for some of the employers and some of the benefits that come from the individual, community and employer level.”  

Blizzard adds, the living wage however does not take into consideration things like debt repayment, pet ownership or retirement.

“It is a very conservative budget that we set out so if someone has any extra costs that they may incur because they don’t fit into this calculation, there will have to be a sacrifice somewhere. That may be going into debt or not being able to pay for something they would need for a good life.”