Alberta’s minimum wage is set to rise once again this September, but critics claim the change isn’t enough.
At $9.95, Alberta currently has the lowest minimum wage in Canada. The increase would push the wage to $10.20. However minimum wage workers who serve liquor would only see their wages grow from $9.05 per hour to $9.20.
Alberta’s Labour Minister Kyle Fawcett said the increase is meant match the annual rise in the cost of living and market wages, but the Alberta New Democrats say it doesn't go far enough.
“For the thousands of Albertans who have to make ends meet on this wage, the minimum wage continues to provide them with less than the bare minimum,” NDP labour critic Rachel Notley told the Edmonton Journal.
A press release from the province argued that Alberta's minimum wage is actually the second-highest in Canada, once the province's lower taxes are factored in. Albertans who make less than $17,593 per year are exempt from paying personal income tax, compared to $9,574 in Ontario or $10,276 in B.C.
Alberta has been working on increasing their minimum wage incrementally for the past three years, from $9.40 in 2011. Even with these increases, Alberta is far behind provinces such as Manitoba, which currently has the highest minimum wage among provinces at $10.45 an hour.
Ontario’s minimum wage is set to take over when it increases to $11 an hour from $10.25 in June.
According to CTV Calgary, Alberta has Canada’s lowest percentage of minimum wage workers at 1.5 per cent. Ontario has the highest with 9.1 per cent of employees earning minimum wage.
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