PRESS RELEASE: New report showing collapse of Alberta living standards released by the Alberta Federation of Labour

CALGARY – The Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) and Canada’s leading progressive economist, Dr. Jim Stanford, released a devastating new report, entitled “Alberta’s Disappearing Advantage”. The report details that wages and living standards in Alberta are collapsing and that urgent action is needed to repair the damage.

“In recent years, workers in Alberta have experienced unprecedented reductions in their incomes, their purchasing power, and their living standards,” reads the report. “These challenges have been made far worse by deliberate wage-suppressing policies of the Alberta government.”

Along with the report, The AFL will concurrently launch a province-wide campaign, called the “Workers Need a Raise” Campaign – aimed at defending living standards in Alberta. Ad samples will be posted this month at

The report highlights shocking statistics, including the following:

  • Alberta is no longer the wage leader among Canadian provinces.
  • The real (after inflation) purchasing power of hourly wages in Alberta is down 5 per cent since 2018 – for public sector workers it’s down as much 10 per cent.
  • Even real wages in the “super-profitable” petroleum and mining sector are down.
  • Alberta has the slowest wage growth among all provinces but equally high inflation, causing unprecedented downward pressure on living standards.
  • The share of the Alberta economy going to labour compensation has dropped by eight percentage points, while the share going to corporations has skyrocketed (something the report describes as a “perverse redistribution” of wealth).
  • The cost of living in Calgary and Edmonton is among the highest of any city in Canada (and higher than Toronto).
  • Over the past five years, despite the government’s “pro-business” rhetoric, Alberta has also had dramatically lower rates of economic growth, productivity growth, and business investment growth than the Canadian average.

“This report is an alarm bell and an urgent call to action,” says AFL president Gil McGowan. “The living standards of all Albertans are collapsing. We need to fight to restore them. The first step is acknowledging we have a problem. The second step is to convince the government to abandon policies that are hampering economic growth and suppressing wages.”

Dr. Stanford presented his report Saturday morning at the AFL’s biennial Midterm Forum in Calgary. His presentation will be posted to the AFL’s YouTube and social media accounts later this week. The report can be found at

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John Ashton
Director of Communications, AFL


About the Author

Jim Stanford is an Economist and Director of the Centre for Future Work. Originating from Calgary, he is also the Harold Innis Industry Professor in Economics at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, and a Honorary Professor in the Department of Political Economy at the University of Sydney. Jim received his Ph.D. in Economics from the New School for Social Research in New York. He also holds a Master of Philosophy from Cambridge University, and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of Calgary.