More than one in five Albertans Earn Low Wages
Alberta Poverty Strategy Must Change Lowest Minimum Wage
EDMONTON—381,200 Albertans earn less than $15 per hour according to new Statistics Canada data released today by Public Interest Alberta. That is 21% of all employed 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 Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. “Given that over half of the 91,000 children 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.”The statistics show that the majority of low-wage workers (236,000 – 62%) are women.Lori Sigurdson, Manager, Professional Affairs, of the 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 low-wage workers are in their prime earning years. 78% of workers earning less than $15/hour are over the age of 20. 78,000 (20%) are between the ages of 20 – 24, 132,200 (35%) are between the ages of 25 – 44 and 88,500 (23%) are older than 45 years of age.“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,” says Moore-Kilgannon. “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 one fifth of our workforce making low wages.” 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.-30-
TAKE ACTION !
The Alberta government is currently consulting Albertans about a poverty reduction strategy. Get involved and tell the government and Premier Redford they need to stick to their commitment to eliminate child poverty by addressing minimum wage in a poverty reduction strategy. The consultation will continue into the fall. Follow this link…