Alberta Bound for Work? – Minimum Wage Hike

The Alberta government has announced another welcoming raise in the minimum wage.

Effective September 1, 2013, the minimum wage will increase 2.1%, from $9.75 to $9.95 before taxes.

Alberta currently has the lowest before tax minimum wage rate in Canada, however, the pay hike will place the province in the number two ‘after tax’ spot behind B.C., which has a net rate of $8.85.

The last amendment to the minimum wage was in May 2012, jumping from $9.40. That increase followed a major raise back in September 2011, which introduced a two-tiered system, where people that serve alcohol would receive a lower wage rate under the assumption that tips would cover the difference.

That system is a similar model to one in provinces like Ontario and B.C, whereas, New Brunswick recently rejected a bill that might implement a similar system.

Alberta’s Department of Human Services explained the formula is predicated on the average of Average Weekly Earnings and the Consumer Price Index. For this year, the average was 2.1%, which meant raising the minimum wage by twenty cents per hour.

Despite the previous and impending raises, people who serve liquor can still receive $9.05 as the minimum wage.

A government bulletin explained that the minimum wage for those who serve alcohol would not see any rise until the standard minimum wage reaches $10.05 per hour. Following that, each rate will increase in tandem and have a $1 distinction.

“The differential for liquor servers was in keeping with the recommendation from employers, preferring to have greater flexibility to supply other employees with higher wages; such as cooks, dishwashers and hostesses,” Cooper said in an email. “Employers were, and stay ready to set their own wage rates above the minimum hourly rates.”

Cooper said it had been unclear however, how long it might take the lower wage rate to be comparable to the general rate, adding it depends on when the standard minimum wage reaches the prescribed rate for changes to start taking form.

Well-trained servers that are on the jazz can get by earning a lower minimum wage, as good and steady tips easily compensate for the discrepancy in hourly rates.

Research Resource: Airdrie Echo News,

For your information and convenience, I attach the minimum wage rates for all Canadian provinces below, sourced from

These minimum wages are the minimum hourly wage rates set by the provinces and territories in Canada for experienced adult workers as at May 1, 2013.

Province General Wage More Employment Standards
Alberta $9.75                      Alberta Human Services
BC $10.25 B.C. Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training
Manitoba $10.25 Manitoba Family Services and Labour
New Bruns $10.00 New Brunswick Employment Standards
Newfld $10.00 Labour Relations Agency
NWT $10.00 Education, Culture and Employment
Nova Scotia $10.30 Labour and Advanced Education
Nunavut $11.00
Ontario $10.25 Ministry of Labour
PEI $10.00 Environment, Labour and Justice
Quebec $10.15 Commission des normes du travail
Saskatchewan $10.00 Saskatchewan Labour Standards
Yukon $10.54 Employment Standards

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