Those working in Alberta with the lowest minimum wage rates will receive an increase this week, however, according to the Federation of Labour it quite simply is not enough.
As of September 1, 2013, the minimum wage in Alberta increased by 2.1%, and moved from $9.75 an hour to $9.95 per hour, with the minimum wage for liquor servers unchanged, at $9.05 per hour.
Despite that, the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) denounces this increase, saying it puts most of those workers below the poverty line, and will have them having to choose between paying their rent and getting in a good grocery order.
Gil McGowan, the President of the AFL, believes that the government’s plan to make annual inflation-based increases to the minimum wage holds merit. However, at issue is that they only started doing so after many years of allowing inflation to outpace the minimum wage. Therefore, when they started the annual increases, the minimum wage was already far too low for Alberta’s economy.”
Estimates suggest that, out of the 1.8% of workers earning minimum wage in Alberta, and assuming a 35-hour work week, workers will earn under $20,000 a year, which is well below Statistics Canada’ poverty level of $23,298.
However, the Human Services department has said their formula, based on possible increases to average weekly earnings, and the consumer price index, is a good starting point for those just entering the work force.
Minister Dave Hancock added that only 1.8% of employees in Alberta actually earn the minimum wage, the lowest percentage of minimum wage earners in all the provinces, which in this case, is most fortunate!
Minimum hourly wages in Ontario and BC is $10.25 per hour, and in Nunavut, the minimum wage is $11 an hour. Beginning October 1, 2013, the minimum wage in Manitoba will also increase, reaching $10.45 per hour.
Research Resource: Labour Reporter, http://www.labour-reporter.com/