PRESS RELEASE: Alberta falls further behind neighbours on wages

B.C. minimum wage now $2.40 an hour ahead of Alberta

EDMONTON – Alberta’s minimum wage has now fallen further behind its neighbouring province. The Government of British Columbia raised theirs to $17.40 per hour on June 1. They also committed to adjusting their minimum wage for inflation on an annual basis. Alberta’s minimum wage remains frozen after 5 ½ years at $15.00.

“Alberta’s minimum wage is falling even further behind the rest of the country just as the province is getting more expensive,” said Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) president Gil McGowan. “Alberta’s minimum wage freeze makes it harder for our most vulnerable workers to afford household necessities. It’s also acting as a drag on other wages, even for people higher up the wage ladder.”

According to the AFL’s recently-released report on wages, Alberta’s Disappearing Advantage: The Crisis in Alberta Wages, and How to Fix It, Alberta is the only province to have failed to raise their minimum wage between 2018 and 2023. To have kept pace with inflation, Alberta would need a minimum wage of $17.52 per hour.

Instead, Jobs, Economy, and Trade Minister Matt Jones has refused to follow the example of every other province in Canada and unfreeze the minimum wage. 126,000 workers in Alberta make the minimum wage as of 2023, all of whom are impacted by this decision, except those working for the federal government.

“Across all of Canada, minimum wages have increased by an (unweighted) average of 27% in the same time (since 2016), and by more than that in several provinces,” writes the report’s author, Economist Dr. Jim Stanford. “The weakness of wages in the province has been particularly acute for those who can least afford it: those working at the bottom of the income ladder.”

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John Ashton
Director of Communications, AFL