Media releases | September 01, 2016

EDMONTON—In the lead up to Labour Day weekend, Public Interest Alberta, in partnership with the Alberta College of Social Workers, released new data on low-wage workers from Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey. It shows that 354,700 workers, making up 18.6% of employed Albertans, earn $15 per hour or less.

“Nearly one of every five employed Albertans still earn wages of $15 per hour or less,” said Joel French, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. “The minimum wage increasing to $15 per hour over the next two years will make a significant difference for more than 350,000 Albertans and their families.”

The data revealed that 60% of low-wage Alberta workers are women.

“The numbers show that increasing the minimum wage will lessen gender inequality,” said Lynn Labrecque King, Executive Director of the Alberta College of Social Workers. “More than 100,000 women across the province will receive wage increases when the minimum wage goes up on October 1st.”

It also showed that more than three-quarters of low-wage workers are 20 years of age or older.

“The image of a teenager living in their parents’ basement and working just to earn extra spending money is not the reality for most low-wage workers,” said French. “Most of these workers are in their prime earning years and are at the stage where they are planning for or are already supporting families.”