Alberta’s minimum wage is not a living wage: Vibrant Communities Calgary


Vibrant Communities Calgary, in conjunction with the Alberta Living Wage Network, determined that a single person in Calgary needs to earn at least $18.60 an hour to survive.

The agency, as it has done since 2008, assessed living wages in communities across the province and released its findings as a resource for employers and policy makers.

The living wage is calculated from average expenses using local costs, subtracting taxes and adding government transfers. It is directly related to the cost of living as it rises or falls, and has risen dramatically in recent years.

According to Vibrant Communities Calgary, a family of four in Calgary in 2018 needed to earn $66,796.89 a year to achieve a modest standard of living.

In 2021, that same family of four in Calgary needs nearly $15,000 more, or $81,293.20, to achieve the same standard of living.

The largest cost increases were in food prices and child care, while the cost of housing fell slightly.

Calgary’s living wage is in the bottom half of the 12 communities participating in this year’s survey.

The community that needs the highest pay to maintain a moderate lifestyle is Canmore which earns $37.40 per hour, followed by Fort McMurray at $27.35.

Full list of living wages in Alberta in 2021 by community:

  • Calgary: $18.60
  • Canmore: $37.40
  • Chestermere: $18.60
  • Cochrane: $22.60
  • Drumheller: $19.70
  • Edmonton: $18.10
  • Fort McMurray: $27.35
  • $19.00
  • Red deer $17.15
  • Rockies House $18.05
  • Stony Plain: $17.20
  • Strathcona County: $16.80

According to the Alberta Living Wage Council, approximately 400,000 Albertans have low incomes and about 60% of them are considered “working poor”.

“These Albertans often have to work multiple jobs just to get by,” said Franco Savoia, president of the Alberta Living Wage Council. “While struggling to support themselves and their families, it becomes difficult to save for the future or to be financially resilient in the face of difficult life events that result in unexpected expenses.

“Living wages help uplift these people and are a necessary element for resilient cities and economies.”

Currently, Alberta’s minimum wage is set at $15 an hour, but it is currently under review.

“The panel will release all available economic data on the labor market impact of minimum wage changes,” read a statement on the Department of Labor and Immigration’s website regarding the wage review. minimum by the panel. “Experts will also assess whether workers in the hospitality industry who serve alcohol would benefit from a wage differential allowing them to work longer hours.”

Joseph Dow, press secretary for Labor and Immigration Minister Tyler Shandro, confirms to CTV News that the panel has completed its work and the report has been submitted to the government, but is not yet public. Dow could not say when it would be released.

A full breakdown of the calculation used by Vibrant Communities Calgary to determine living wage can be found here.

More information on the Alberta government’s minimum wage review can be found here.

Michael A. Bynum