On Monday, 26,000 people earning minimum wage in Alberta will start seeing a slight boost in their paycheques.
The province is raising the general minimum wage on Sept. 1 from $9.95 to $10.20 an hour, while the liquor server wage will increase from $9.05 to $9.20 an hour.
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Alberta is the last province to hit the $10 general minimum wage barrier.
Jay Fisher, with the province’s Ministry of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour, said an increase in the average weekly earnings and the consumer price index this year led to the minimum wage jump.
“It’s not a huge increase,” Fisher said. “We think it’s fair for all parties. There are, of course, people who’d like there to be no minimum wage and let the market bear, but that’s not Alberta’s policy.”
Vanessa Vattheuer, who has been working in the service industry for the past five years, says the increase is a good sign.
“It’s good they’re recognizing that serving is a real job and the cost of living is going up across the board,” Vattheuer said.
However, some say minimum wage still has a long way to go. Even with the increase, Alberta workers make less minimum wage than six of Canada’s provinces and territories.
“That’s all a great idea, but when you’re starting with a base wage that’s sub-poverty line, it’s not good enough,” said Siobhan Vipond, secretary treasurer of the Alberta Federation of Labour.
“The minimum wage, which affects more women — young women who are working full-time, permanent jobs — cannot support themselves or their family the way they should in a province with the abundance that we have here.”