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Minimum-wage plan brings hope to hardworking Albertans

The province is mapping out the next steps toward a $15 minimum wage by 2018 following several weeks of consultation with Albertans.

The increases to minimum wage will move nearly 300,000 hardworking Albertans closer to earning a living wage for their families and provide certainty to businesses.

Alberta’s general minimum wage will rise $1.00 to $12.20 per hour and the current liquor server rate will be removed, effective October 1. Weekly and monthly minimum wages used by certain professions will rise to $486 and $2,316, respectively, at the same time.

Minimum wage will rise a further $1.40, to $13.60 per hour, on October 1, 2017, and by $1.40, to $15 per hour, on October 1, 2018. Weekly and monthly rates will rise by equivalent amounts.

"Albertans who work full time should be able to live with dignity, and that means being able to afford rent, food and transportation for their families. This plan for Alberta's minimum wage provides long-term certainty to employers and workers."

Christina Gray, Minister, Alberta Labour

"In my experience as a restaurant owner, higher wages for valuable employees garners longer staff retention, reduces training costs and consequently improves overall staff morale, which benefits customers and colleagues alike."

Brad Lazarenko, owner, Culina Restaurant

"We support the Alberta government’s plan of phased increases to the minimum wage. Increasing the minimum wage in Alberta will improve the lives of women and children fleeing violence. Women make up the majority of Albertans supporting their families on minimum wage, and starting over often means accepting low-wage employment."

Jan Reimer, Executive Director, Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters

"We know that income security is the primary determinant of individual and community health. Alberta's plan to increase minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2018 could be one of the most significant policy changes for Canadian health this decade. It’s exciting to see this leadership for a healthier Alberta. Hopefully other provinces will follow this important step forward." 

Ryan Meili, Family Doctor and Executive Director, Upstream Institute for a Healthy Society

"Being able to make a living to contribute to our community is key to ensuring a healthy, safe and prosperous province. Alberta has the highest rate of working poor in Canada and 59 per cent of children living in poverty in our province have either one or both parents working full time. Increasing the minimum wage is about dignity and respect. A $15 minimum wage recognizes that no one deserves to live in poverty in our province and that everyone deserves a chance to contribute to our community and participate in our economy."

Brian Pincott, Councillor, Ward 11, City of Calgary

"Paying people a fair living wage is a simple commitment to make for the greater good, as minimum wage doesn’t even come close to meeting the basic needs of those in our community. It is imperative that businesses accept this responsibility and find a way to make it work, so that we all can work towards a solution, and not be part of the problem. If you take care of your people first, they will in turn take care of your customers - not the other way around."

James G. Boettcher, Chief Idea Officer and CEO, Fiasco Gelato

"At Duchess Bake Shop we believe strongly in paying a living wage to our employees. They work hard to help us build our vision and it is incumbent upon us as employers to ensure that our people are paid enough to support their families, pay their mortgages and rents and feed themselves. We have benefited greatly from paying higher than minimum wages through very high staff retention thereby saving on training, maintaining efficiencies and creating a workplace people want to be part of. Everybody’s lives have a fundamental worth, and if they are spending their energy and time to work and benefit society, then they are deserving of a fair wage."

Garner Beggs, co-owner, Duchess Bake Shop

"We fully support the plan to increase in Alberta's minimum wage. Raising the standard of living for people earning the least has a direct and positive impact on the local economy that benefits all of us. As a business owner, it's obvious to me that we are not job creators. People spending money are job creators. If nobody is buying our products, we can't create jobs out of thin air. We need people to not only make enough money to survive, but to have some discretionary spending as well, and raising the minimum wage is an easy and effective way to achieve this. It's trickle-up economics. It also sends a message to the rest of the country that Alberta is still the best place to go to make a good living, no matter who you are and what you do. At National Solar, we don't and won't pay anyone at the current minimum wage. The benefits of offering a competitive salary and recruiting high quality candidates far outweigh the meagre benefits we might see from saving a few dollars each hour on the back of someone's hard work. If our employees are living below the poverty line, we're doing something wrong."

Matt Lisac, owner, National Solar Distributors

"As a local business, I only see positives from raising the minimum wage. If someone makes a more livable income, they may be more likely to spend it within their community. Businesses earn more profits, which they can put towards their employees."

Danica LeBlanc, owner, Variant Edition Comics

"At Page the Cleaner, our people are our greatest asset. We believe that providing fair wages to our people is a key part in creating strong communities."

Holly Jones, President, Page The Cleaner

"This is a historic opportunity to reduce the wage gap across the province. A woman who works all day to support her family should not have to take a second job or go to the food bank to meet her basic needs. Increasing the minimum wage in Alberta will have a substantial impact on the lives of women and children fleeing violence. Women make up the majority of Albertans supporting their families on minimum wage, and starting over often means accepting in low-wage employment."

Brenda Brochu, President of the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters

"Data profiling low-wage earners shows most are not teenagers with entry level jobs, but rather adults (20 years of age or older) with responsibilities for maintaining a household. The Edmonton Social Planning Council, therefore, urges the province to stick to the commitment to increase minimum wage to $15 by 2018, as there is ample evidence of the benefits in reducing poverty and inequality and sustaining economic growth."

Susan Morrissey, Executive Director, Edmonton Social Planning Councile

"Low incomes trap women in circumstances that are unsafe and in which they have few options. As a large employer and an organization committed to supporting women who are vulnerable, we support the $15-by-2018 commitment. It reflects our belief that an adequate income is critical for women to live with dignity and maintain their well-being."

Sue Tomney, Chief Executive Officer, YWCA of Calgary

"Vibrant Communities Calgary supports increasing the minimum wage in Alberta. The increase will assist low-wage working Albertans to move closer to an income required to meet their basic needs. It is part of a solution to reducing poverty because the increase in minimum wage will put more money into the pockets of the working poor."

Franco Savoia, Executive Director, Vibrant Communities Calgary

"Increasing the minimum wage will put more money in the pockets of Albertans earning the lowest wages at a time when they need it most. Those working full time should earn enough to support themselves and their families."

Joel French, Executive Director, Public Interest Alberta

Low-income earner demographics

  • Almost 300,000 Albertans earn less than $15 per hour
  • The vast majority (222,900) are not students
  • 78 per cent are permanent employees
  • 62 per cent are women
  • 38 per cent are families with children

Media inquiries

Government of Alberta