Rest of Canada must follow Alberta’s lead on minimum wage

June 30, 2016

The Canadian Labour Congress is celebrating today’s announcement by the Alberta government that it will be phasing in a $15 minimum wage by 2018. The CLC is calling on the federal government, and the other provinces, to make a $15 minimum wage the universal standard for workers across the country.

“Today, the Alberta government fulfills a key election promise, one that will help nearly 300,000 working people who currently struggle to afford basic needs like housing, transportation and food,” said Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff.

“Alberta has shown bold leadership and set a new standard. One that we are urging the rest of Canada to follow,” Yussuff added.

Across Canada, about 25 percent of Canadian workers – more than four million people – earned at or near the minimum wage in 2015. Women are disproportionately represented in this group, with fully one-third earning less than $15/hour, compared to 22 percent of men. For racialized Canadians and other marginalized groups, the impact can be far greater.

The Fight for $15 campaign has been gaining momentum throughout North America for the past several years, with key wins in California, New York, Seattle and most recently, Washington, D.C.

“Experts have been studying minimum wage increases for decades. The evidence is clear: a higher minimum wage does not kill jobs, but in fact can actually benefit businesses by reducing employee turnover, increasing productivity and boosting local spending ability,” Yussuff said.

The Canadian Labour Congress is calling on the Trudeau government to implement a $15 minimum wage for federal workers and on the other provinces to follow suit.