Blog | August 30, 2013

by Matthew Hoare, Lethbridge Herald381,200 Albertans, including 9,800 people from Lethbridge earn less than $15 per hour according to new Statistics Canada data released by Public Interest Alberta. That means 28% or just over 1 in 4 people make less than $15 per hour in Lethbridge, compared to 21% or 1 in 5 of Albertans.“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 Lorinda Peel, Lethbridge Community Mobilizer 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.”While 62% of Alberta’s low-wage workers are women, 4900 out of the 9800 low-wage workers in Lethbridge are women (50%).Lori Sigurdson, Manager, Professional Affairs, Alberta College of Social Workers said “Alberta is championed as the land of plenty. What isn’t known so well is that this is true only for a few. Women are an especially disadvantaged group, with a large majority earning low wages. Other social issues such as high rates of family violence and divorce, mean women are suffering in our rich province. If this is so for women, we know children are also suffering. Increasing Alberta’s minimum wage rate to the poverty line would go a long way in alleviating hardship for vulnerable women and children.”The majority of Lethbridge employees earning less than $15/hour are in their prime earning years. 7900 (81%) low-wage workers in Lethbridge are over the age of 20 and of that 2600 (27%) are between 20 – 24 years of age, 3700 (38%) are between the ages of 25 – 44, and 1600 (16%) are over the age of 45.“These statistics clearly show that despite the increasing cost of living in Lethbridge, 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,” says Lorinda Peel, Lethbridge 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 to have so many people making low wages.”Read the article at the Lethbridge News.