EDMONTON – Danielle Smith supports cutting Albertans’ wages as the UCP finally releases a report from their hand-picked panel that recommends wage cuts in Alberta at a time when inflation has reached a 40-year-high and employers are struggling with a labour shortage.
After already cutting the minimum wage for youth, the report commissioned by the UCP recommends “re-establishing a liquor server wage in Alberta” as well as “expand this differentiated wage beyond the current age cut-off of 18 years old” and “establish an entry or training wage differential for inexperienced workers”.
It is implied that these new wage differentials would be below the current minimum wage of $15 per hour.
“If you work a full-time job, you should be able to pay for the basic necessities of life like groceries, rent and utilities, and be able to start putting some money aside for the future,” said Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley. “Our Alberta NDP government was proud to make sure more than 150,000 Albertans working in the lowest-wage jobs received a raise in difficult times. Since then, several provinces have followed our lead and raised their minimum wage to $15 or higher.
“Danielle Smith will use this report to cut the pay of hundreds of thousands of Albertans. Alberta’s NDP will never let that happen.”
In a YouTube video released in December 2021, Danielle Smith argued “…there should be a separate minimum wage that is lower for someone who has no skills and are entering the workforce.”
“All work is meaningful. No Albertan working a full-time job should be living in poverty just because Danielle Smith says they have no skills,” responded Alberta NDP Labour Critic Christina Gray.
Alberta’s NDP fundamentally rejects the claims made by the UCP’s hand-picked panel, which included lobby groups that have fought against every minimum wage increase proposed in the last 50 years.
Economists debate the impact of increasing the minimum wage and many studies indicate that overall, increasing the minimum wage has positive effects on workers and the economy.
“The higher minimum wage has helped more families and young people, especially in the last four years as the cost-of-living climbed in this province. Other provinces have followed suit. In fact, both B.C. and Ontario currently have a higher minimum wage than Alberta, and lower youth unemployment,” said Gray.
Alberta has a $15 minimum wage and a separate $13 youth wage. Alberta currently has an 11.3 per cent unemployment rate among workers aged 15-24, according to Statistics Canada.
British Columbia has a minimum wage of $15.65 for all workers, and youth unemployment rate of 10.1 per cent.
Ontario has a minimum wage of $15.50 for all workers and a youth unemployment rate of 11 per cent.
Alberta has had the slowest wage growth in Canada since UCP took office.
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