News | August 30, 2013

from the Prairie Post381,200 Albertans and 11,900 Medicine Hatters earn less than $15 per hour according to new Statistics Canada data released Aug. by Public Interest Alberta. While the provincial average for low-wage workers is 21% of all employed Albertans, it is 35% or one in three employed people in Medicine Hat who earn less than $15/hour.“The new Alberta minimum wage set to take effect on September 1st will not help Premier Redford achieve her election promise to eliminate child poverty by 2017,” said Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Executive Director for Public Interest Alberta. “Given that over half of the 91,000 children who live in poverty in Alberta have at least one parent working full-time, full-year, it is unconscionable that Alberta still has the lowest minimum wage in the country.”“Public Interest Alberta’s new report shows that Medicine Hat has not improved since they last published this report. Almost 2 years ago Public Interest Alberta’s report showed Medicine Hat having the highest percentage of low wage earners in the 7 major centers in Alberta, and we still hold that statistic today,” said Holly Stadnicki, Executive Director for United Way in Medicine Hat. “This is disturbing as we have not made any strides in this area even with two minimum wage increases in the province.”In the report “MOVING FROM CHARITY TO INVESTMENT, Reducing the Cost of Poverty in Medicine Hat” a living wage for Medicine Hat is reported at $13/hour. The Statistics released today show that 9000 people in Medicine Hat (26% of all workers) earn less than $13.00/ hour.236,000 Albertans and 6800 out of the 11,900 low-wage workers in Medicine Hat are women (57%).The majority of Medicine Hat employees earning less than $15/hour are in their prime earning years. 10,900 (91.5%) low-wage workers in Medicine Hat are over the age of 20 and of that, 1000 (8.5%) are between 20 – 24 years of age, 6100 (51%) are between the ages of 25 – 44, 3800 (32%) are over the age of 45.“These statistics clearly show that despite the high cost of living in Alberta, many people in their prime work years are struggling to get by on wages that are too low to support a family or upgrade their education,” said Alison Van Dyke, Medicine Hat Community Mobilizer for Public Interest Alberta. “Albertans need to speak out to make sure the Alberta government’s poverty reduction strategy will actually address the real implications for families and our communities. The only cure for poverty is increased wages - a living wage. A person who works full-time should not be below the poverty line."For detailed fact sheets on the number of low-wage workers in seven major cities in Alberta go to action-areas/human-services-poverty/resources.The statistics were purchased from Statistics Canada by Public Interest Alberta with the support of the Alberta College of Social Workers. The statistics are the number of employed Albertans in each category for the average of the year ending June 30, 2013.Read the article on Prairie Post

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