Alberta Minimum Wage Set to Increase October 1
As part of the process that will see the minimum wage in Alberta hit $15/hour on October 1, 2018, the second of three increases will take effect October 1, 2017, as the minimum wage in the Wild Rose province will increase from its current $12.20/hour to $13.60/hour.
According to the Government of Alberta website, nearly 300,000 Albertans, making up over 15% of the Alberta workforce, currently earn less than $15/hour. Over 50% of those workers are full-time and nearly 40% are parents.
Despite noble intentions, the minimum wage increase – championed by Premier Rachel Notley’s NDP government – has been divisive, specifically regarding the timing of the increase relating to the current economic climate in Alberta.
Alberta’s current unemployment rate is 8.1%, well above the national unemployment rate of 6.2%. (Statistics Canada).
A C.D. Howe Institute report estimates up to 25,000 jobs could be lost, thanks to the impending $1.40/hour increase to $13.60/hour. The same study says that same number of jobs (25,000) have been lost in the province, to date, since 2014. (CTV News).
‘’Those (benefits) are real, but does it outweigh the employment loss when the province is already losing employment?” Joseph Marchand, author of the C.D. Howe Institute report, said. ‘’I really don’t have an argument against increasing the minimum wage; it’s about the magnitude and the timing.’’
Premier Notley remains bullish on the economic benefit of the minimum wage increase to the province.
‘’I’m quite confident that the vast majority of information suggests it is doing exactly what we always knew it would do, which is reduce inequality and stimulate economic activity locally and, ultimately, be a contributor to economic growth,’’ Premier Notley, said. (Calgary Herald).