Edmonton - Public Interest Alberta has released new data from Statistics Canada showing that more than 300,000 Albertans, nearly one in six workers, will receive a raise when the minimum wage is raised from $13.60 to $15.00 per hour on October 1, 2018.
“We have gone on too long allowing workers to be paid poverty-level wages,” said Joel French, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. “The minimum wage increase will allow these Albertans to better support their families. It is also part of building a strong economy where no one is left behind.”
The data included a breakdown by age and showed that 233,300 (77.2%) low wage workers are 20 years of age or older.
“The common myth that most low wage workers are teenagers living in their parents’ basements is simply not true,” added French. “The vast majority are at least 20 years old. Most of these people are trying to start their careers or are in the middle of their careers trying to support their families. These are the people who need it the most.”
The data also showed that more than 60 percent of Alberta’s low wage workers are women.
“Females make up over 60 percent of minimum wage workers, so when we’re talking about the minimum wage increase, let us remember to put people first, whatever our deliberations,” said Lynn L. King, Executive Director and Registrar for the Alberta College of Social Workers. “Supporting a living wage for minimum wage workers builds futures for all of us.”
While the incoming minimum wage increase will help many workers across the province to support their families, $15.00 per hour will still not result in a living wage in all areas of the province, including the cities of Edmonton and Calgary, where a living wage is $16.48 and $18.15 per hour, respectively.
“Any Albertan earning less than a living wage is working poor,” said Franco Savoia, Executive Director of Vibrant Communities Calgary. “They are unable to meet their basic needs and thus will need to get a second or third job. In all likelihood they will also need to go to their local food bank and seek assistance from their family to get by. We need to do better as a province.”
Public Interest Alberta has made factsheets available showing the most recent data of low wage workers across Alberta, including data specific to the following regions:
Athabasca – Grande Prairie – Peace River
Wood Buffalo – Cold Lake.
For more information and to access the factsheets, visit www.pialberta.org/LowWage2018
Communications Officer, Public Interest Alberta
Lynn L. King
Executive Director & Registrar, Alberta College of Social Workers
For the Calgary area:
Executive Director, Vibrant Communities Calgary