Public Interest Alberta Executive Director Joel French wrote this opinion piece earlier this month that was featured in the Calgary Herald.
"Over the past 30 years in Alberta, the wealthy elites in the top one per cent have seen their incomes rise by 72 per cent, while the other 99 per cent of us saw only an 11 per cent increase. That trend is not inevitable; it is the direct result of misguided government policies of the past. Minimum wage increases are one of the ways we can begin to rebalance the scales.
Gender inequality is widely recognized as requiring action in Alberta, where nearly two-thirds of low-wage workers are women. Alberta women earn on average only 60 per cent of what men earn, a problem that extends far beyond low wage workers, but increasing the minimum wage is a step toward closing that gap.
Lack of sufficient income is one of the primary reasons why so many Albertans live in poverty. Recent data shows 300,000 Albertans, including 144,000 children, live in low-income households. The coming minimum wage increases will significantly reduce those numbers and help more Albertans reach their full potential."