Minimum wage stagnates as inflation soars and erodes purchasing power
EDMONTON – This Sunday, October 1, will mark five years without an increase to Alberta’s minimum wage – and the president of Alberta’s largest worker advocacy group is not happy about it.
“Since the last increase in the minimum wage, the cost of living in Alberta has gone up by 18 per cent, which is the largest jump in inflation in more than 40 years,” says Alberta Federation of Labour president, Gil McGowan.
“Yet, despite rapidly rising costs for everything, the Alberta government hasn’t increased the minimum wage – and they apparently have no plans to do so in the future. It’s hard not to see this as anything other than a deliberate wage suppression strategy at the worst possible time for Albertans.”
McGowan dismisses government suggestions that they don’t need to increase the minimum wage because they’ve introduced a series of what they describe as “affordability measures.”
“Their grab bag of promises is no substitute for an increase to the minimum wage,” says McGowan. “The best way that the government can help citizens deal with the rising cost of living is to help ensure that workers get wages that keep up with inflation. Anything else is just window dressing.”
As we pass the sad anniversary of five years without an increase to the minimum wage, McGowan is encouraging citizens and the media to ask the Smith government tough questions.
“If they’re not going to increase the minimum wage now, during a period of extremely high inflation, then when will they? Ever? Do they even believe in having a minimum wage? As Albertans struggle to pay their bills with paychecks that are worth less and less, they deserve answers to these questions.”
Director of Communications, AFL