WATCH: The NDP has promised to hike minimum wages in Alberta by nearly $5 an hour, but that’s creating a divide between businesses and labour. Tracy Nagai reports.
CALGARY – Part of Premier-designate Rachel Notley’s election campaign was to raise Alberta’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2018, a promise she addressed with reporters on Wednesday.
“That’s something that typically is addressed in the fall, so we’ll be meeting as a cabinet to discuss rolling out that process,” said Notley.
“But without question, that was in our platform and we intend to move forward on it.”
Alberta’s minimum wage is currently $10.20; tied with Saskatchewan as the lowest of all the provinces. ( The Northwest Territories is slightly less at $10). The highest in Canada is $11 in both Nunavut and Ontario.
Calgary District and Labour Council spokesperson Alex Shevalier says two per cent of Albertans currently make minimum wage, but that a hike will impact many more.
“We’re talking about a small number of people, but what that will likely do is—for the people making slightly above the minimum wage in the 13-14 dollar an hour—it will also mean raises for all the people between minimum wage and 15,” said Shevalier.
Not all business owners are on board, though.
“You’re setting a standard for what businesses can operate under,” said St. James Corner’s Jeff Beddoes. “I think if you increase that too much, you’ll end up seeing a number of businesses fail.”
With files from Tracy Nagai