Alberta's minimum wage to rise

Wage will jump from $5.90 to $7 per hour, but province hasn't decided how to implement the increase

Alberta’s minimum wage is jumping from $5.90 per hour to $7, an increase of nearly 20 per cent.

The province said it is raising the minimum wage, but it hasn’t decided how it will be implemented. The government said it will consult employers and other Albertans to determine if it should be increased all at once or in stages.

“Now is the right time to raise Alberta’s minimum wage,” said Mike Cardinal, the province’s Human Resources and Employment Minister. “The provincial government wants to ensure all Albertans benefit from the Alberta Advantage, including minimum wage earners.”

Currently, Alberta’s minimum wage is the lowest in the country.

The government said average hourly wages have increased by almost 18 per cent over the past five years, the consumer price index has increased 18.5 per cent and the gross domestic product has increased by 22 per cent.

“In deciding the new rate, government has struck a balance between the needs of workers and employers,” said Cardinal. “(The new wage) is a rate that will work for business and for people.”

Less than one per cent of Alberta employees, or about 11,000 people, currently earn the minimum wage. The province’s minimum wage was last raised in 1998 in three stages over a 12-month period.

Interested parties can provide feedback, beginning on Feb. 24, on whether Alberta’s new minimum wage should be introduced all at once or in stages at www.gov.ab.ca/hre/employmentstandards.

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