Minimum wage earners in Alberta will get a raise Sept. 1 when the province’s two minimum wage rates increase to keep pace with rising provincial incomes and the cost of living.
Alberta’s general minimum wage will increase to $10.20 from $9.95 per hour while the liquor server minimum wage will rise to $9.20 from $9.05 per hour.
The increase is based on a formula used since 2011 that links the general wage rate to annual increases in Average Weekly Earnings (AWE) and the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in Alberta.
In the past year, AWE rose 3.3 per cent in Alberta, while the CPI rose 1.4 per cent. The average of 2.3 per cent (plus rounding for easier employer calculations) translates into an increase of 25 cents per hour to the general minimum wage rate.
“While Alberta has the lowest percentage of employees earning minimum wage in the country, these individuals form an important part of our workforce. Many work in the service and retail sectors and are gaining the experience they need to succeed. These changes will give them a modest increase while keeping the viability of their employers in mind as well,” said Kyle Fawcett, minister of jobs, skills, training and labour.
About 25,700 individuals, or 1.5 per cent of employees in Alberta, earn minimum wage, compared to 6.8 per cent nationally and 9.1 per cent in Ontario.
When Alberta’s high personal exemption and low tax rates are factored in, the new general minimum wage ranks second highest in Canada, after Ontario, said the government.
Government policy specifies a $1 differential between the general minimum wage and the liquor server rate to account for the tips generally earned by liquor servers.