Alberta's minimum wage an embarrassment: right-wing lobby group

Chief economist of the Canada West Foundation calls on Alberta to raise minimum wage

A right-wing lobby group has called Alberta’s minimum wage embarrassing and wants the government to increase it, according to a report in the Edmonton Sun.

“It’s time to do it. We’ve been embarrassed for too long,” said Todd Hirsch, chief economist of the Canada West Foundation in an Internet posting to fellow pro-business thinkers. “(If) companies in Alberta truly enjoy the ‘Alberta Advantage’ promoted so loudly by the government, surely their payroll budgets can handle a few extra cents an hour. They already enjoy low corporate taxes and given the state of provincial finances, it is likely business taxes will go lower yet.”

Hirsch said the working poor in Alberta can barely scrape together enough money for a damage deposit on an apartment and the incidence of homelessness in Alberta’s major cities is too high. He called on the province to consider a 10 per cent increase in the minimum wage “at the very least.”

That would bring Alberta’s minimum wage to $6.50 an hour. Assuming a 40-hour work week, that means a minimum-wage earner would bring in $13,520 per year.

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