Member spotlight: Costs are rising faster than my wages

Like thousands of families across Canada, we are feeling the brunt of the rising cost of living. Rent, house prices, groceries, transportation, gas... they’re all through the roof. The situation is dire, and I don’t feel like the government is keeping up. As an employer, it has a duty to pay workers decent wages that are consistent with the true cost of living. 

We have a sedan, which is more practical for us and our three children. For example, I use it to pick my son up from school. But it’s been costing us more and more in gas. We’ve done the math, and my commutes end up being around 50 cents per kilometre. That’s almost an extra $300 per month. Honestly, because of this increase, I’ll have to opt for walking instead of driving when the weather allows.

My groceries have gone up significantly since last year. Fresh fruit and meat are much more expensive. I haven’t reduced our consumption, but I’m trying to incorporate other foods like legumes because they’re more affordable sources of protein. We want to maintain the quality of life our family had pre-pandemic, but everything costs so much more.

Increasing wages by the same percentage as the rate of inflation is the bare minimum to make sure that workers and their families across the country can stay afloat as expenses skyrocket. Learn more about how inflation impacts your job with our conversation starter, What does rising inflation mean for Canadian workers?

We are very privileged to have good working conditions. But I think the government should not lose sight of the fact that federal public service employees, who worked tirelessly through the pandemic, deserve pay raises that are adjusted to the cost of living. I’ve already reached the third and highest salary step for my classification, and it’s not enough. A fair pay raise that reflects the current cost of living should be a bargaining priority for our next collective agreement. 

Any Lopez has been working at the Parole Board of Canada since September 2020, and has been a public service employee since March 2011. She is currently a member of the Union of Safety and Justice Employees. 


April 8, 2022