Many Albertans not making a living wage

EDMONTON – Almost 224,000 people in Alberta earn less than $12 an hour, below what’s needed for a living wage, according to statistics compiled by social advocacy groups.

The statistics were compiled by Public Interest Alberta and other organizations in advance of hearings Tuesday afternoon on Alberta’s minimum wage.

“Someone who is working full-time should be able to earn enough to have a safe and healthy living, but it is clear from these statistics that far too many Albertans are not making a living wage,” Bill Moore-Kilgannon, the executive director of public interest Alberta, said in a news release.

Moore-Kilgannon called on the government to raise the minimum wage and reestablish annual increases.

Since 2007, the minimum wage has been tied to the average weekly earnings index. But in February, the government decided to freeze the wage at $8.80 an hour in an effort to avoid job losses from the recession.

The move was applauded by business groups but denounced by unions and others.

The hearings at the standing committee take place all afternoon.