The High Cost Of Safety Gear For A Low Income Individual

High Cost Of Safety Gear

The average cost of living in Greater Vancouver

According to the 2015 census, the median total income of households in Vancouver was $72,662. So what does life look like as the average Vancouverite? 

Rent costs approximately one-third of your income: a one-bedroom apartment in the City Centre is $2,054; outside of the city, it’s a little cheaper at  $1,659. This leaves approximately $3,800 for living expenses. Living locally, your zone 1 bus pass costs $98/ month, your food cost, phone, internet, clothing, and entertainment is estimated, for a single person to be $1,143. With this in mind, the average person living in Vancouver has just over $2000 each month to get ahead.

The reality of low income

Low income individuals, the clients that Working Gear supports, represent 16% of all Metro Vancouver citizens. 

According to Stats Canada for a one-person household, the after-tax low-income measure was $22,460 in 2015. That’s $1,872 per month, which must cover rent and all you need to survive. For our clients, this means:

  • Everything outside of basic needs is a decision of what to sacrifice
  • Living out of the city and paying almost double for a bus pass
  • Longer commutes to the city and, sometimes, restricted transit access
  • Food, phone, and “life” must fit into just over $200 per  month

The current price of safety gear

In British Columbia, an employer must enforce the use of safety gear even if they do not provide it. Hard hats and reflective vests may be what is commonly envisioned, but safety gear is highly specific to the job’s needs. Slip-proof boots, rain gear, and ear protection can be just as important to prevent injury. 

Safety equipment is not only essential. It is personal and not easily shared, and is often the first thing a worker will invest in when they’re starting out. 

With this perspective, let’s look at the cost of safety gear. We looked at Mark’s online sales. What does it cost to start that first day of work if you start with nothing? 

Safety Gear

  • A reflective vest $21-149
  • Safety glasses $19
  • Hard hats $59
  • Ear protection $9-$24
  • Boots, gloves, jackets and more are designed and priced for a competitive marketplace making smarter and more expensive components all the time

Personal Gear

  • Work boots $64-159
  • Work jacket $69-$181+
  • Rain gear $24-259; reflective starts at $144
  • Shoe covers $29-69
  • Overalls $59-209
  • Work pants $64-94
  • Gloves $10-43
Work Safe Gear

Work Safe Gear

How Working Gear helps

It is clear how much more difficult it is for low income individuals to be able to access the safety gear and other personal equipment they need for their first week on the job.

Working Gear helps level the field with gently used or new gear so our clients can be ready. The reality is that adequate gear is not good enough. We ensure the donations we carry are high quality items that will last.