Media releases | September 11, 2015

Minimum wage increases will make a significant difference for a large number of Albertans

EDMONTON—Following the Labour Day long weekend, Public Interest Alberta released new Statistics Canada data showing 362,400 (18.9% of all employed workers) earn $15 per hour or less. Of that number, 123,700 workers live in the Edmonton area, and 122,100 live in the Calgary area.

“The new government’s minimum wage increase to $15 per hour by 2018 will put more money in the pockets of hundreds of thousands of low-income working Albertans,” said Joel French, Director of Communications and Campaigns for Public Interest Alberta. “As those Albertans spend their additional earnings, our economy will also get a boost when it needs it most.”

A total of 117,500 Albertans earned less than $11.20 per hour in June 2014. The minimum wage increase coming into effect in October means about $160 per month more for every person working full time on minimum wage, and nearly two-thirds (62.7%) of workers making less than $11.20 per hour were women. 

The statistics also dispel the myth that most low-wage workers are teenagers. Of all low-wage workers in Alberta, four of every five (79%) are at least 20 years old, and nearly one-quarter are 45 years old or older (23.8%).

“As living expenses continue to increase, the minimum wage boost will help low-income Albertans stay afloat, and it will help to address our pay equity gap between men and women,” continued French. “A comprehensive plan for Alberta to reduce and eliminate poverty is still needed, but the minimum wage increase is a crucial step in the right direction.”

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View Public Interest Alberta’s factsheet on the demographics of low-wage workers in Alberta (includes regional data for Calgary and Edmonton).

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