Minimum wage rises in Alberta

Alberta’s minimum wage rose to $13.60 from $12.20 per hour Oct. 1, the latest incremental increase as the provincial government moves toward a $15 per hour minimum wage by Oct. 1, 2018.

Alberta now has the highest minimum wage in Canada.

“All hard-working people deserve to earn enough money to support themselves and their families,” said Alberta Minister of Labour Christina Gray in noting the raise.

“Our government is staying true to our commitment to make life better for those Albertans who earn the bare minimum. This increase will boost the spending power of low-income people, which supports Alberta’s economic recovery.”

In the waning days of September, the United Conservative Party had urged the government to delay the wage hike and release independent economic analysis showing the impact of the increase.

The UCP said a higher minimum wage could cause up to 15,000 job losses and disproportionately affect teenagers, young adults and recent immigrants who earn minimum wage and whose jobs could be cut by employers facing higher labour costs.

Alberta’s Liberal party supported the increase, but leader David Khan said an economic impact study is needed. He said small business owners are already facing higher costs from the carbon tax, and “more nuanced approaches” to poverty reduction are available.

Alberta government statistics indicate more than 292,000 Albertans now earn less than $15 per hour, and more than 59 percent of low income earners are women.

The Oct. 1 increase will raise the annual gross income of minimum wage earners to $28,288 from $25,376.

Saskatchewan’s minimum wage rose to $10.96 from $10.72 on Oct. 1 and Manitoba’s rose to $11.15 from $11. British Columbia’s minimum wage is $11.35.

Contact barb.glen@producer.com

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