EDMONTON – Alberta’s minimum wage will be going up to $9.95 September 1st, but some believe that won’t be enough to alleviate the problem of child poverty in the province.
According to new Statistics Canada data released Friday by Public Interest Alberta, more than one in five employed Albertans earn less than $15 per hour. The data also shows that the majority (78 per cent) of low-wage earners are over the age of 20, and 62 per cent are women.
“Other social issues such as high rates of family violence and divorce, mean women are suffering in our rich province.” said Lori Sigurdson with the Alberta College of Social Workers. “If this is so for women, we know children are also suffering. Increasing Alberta’s minimum wage rate to the poverty line would go a long way in alleviating hardship for vulnerable women and children.”
The Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta, Bill Moore-Kilgannon, adds that the new minimum wage that has been set for the province won’t help Premier Alison Redford achieve her election promise to eliminate child poverty by 2017.
“Given that over half of the 91,000 children in poverty in Alberta have at least one parent working full-time, full-year, it is unconscionable that Alberta still has the lowest minimum wage in the country,” he says.
Here’s a look at the minimum wages across Canada, as of September 1st, 2013:
New Brunswick $10.00
Nova Scotia $10.30
Back in May, when the minimum wage increase was first announced, the government said about 29,300 (1.8 per cent of) Alberta employees earned minimum wage between April 2012 and March 2013. Based on that figure, it claimed Alberta has the lowest percentage of minimum wage earners compared with other Canadian provinces.
“After taxes, Alberta’s minimum wage is the second highest amongst Canadian provinces and provides a good starting point for entering the workforce,” said Human Services Minister Dave Hancock.
For fact sheets on the number of low-wage workers in some of Alberta’s major cities, visit the Public Interest Alberta website.