While six Canadian provinces have elected to bump their minimum wage over the weekend, Alberta has chosen to stand firm with its $15 per hour base wage, implemented in 2018. Despite the provincial neighbours having increased their minimum payout, Alberta does not intend to revisit the current hourly wage system.
Among the provinces making an upward adjustment to their hourly wage include Ontario, where the minimum wage is now $16.55, Manitoba with an increase to $15.30, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, as well as Newfoundland and Labrador, who sit at $15, and Saskatchewan who adjusted theirs to $14.
The Alberta Federation of Labour President expressed their concern over the province’s refusal to upgrade its minimum wage to keep pace with rising inflation. Gil McGowan emphasised that had the minimum wage in Alberta been indexed to inflation over the past five years, the workers would now be earning approximately $17.70 per hour—a stark contrast to the present rate.
The increasing cost of everyday essentials like food and fuel only exacerbate the situation for the workers. When the wages do not expand alongside inflation, it regrettably results in an indirect wage cut, diminishing the purchasing power of the workers.
On the other side, a representative of the provincial jobs and trade ministry clarified Alberta’s standpoint to maintain the existing minimum wage. Arguing that the current rate provides employers and employees alike with predictability and stability, particularly crucial in a period of economic growth and labour shortages.
Yukon holds the distinction of offering the most generous minimum wage in Canada at $16.77, while at the other end of the spectrum, Saskatchewan provides the lowest. It remains to be seen whether Alberta’s decision to hold its ground on minimum wage amidst the rising cost of living will prove beneficial or detrimental in the long run.