A recent announcement from Alberta’s Minister of Employment and Immigration, Thomas Lukaszuk, revealed that Alberta will be raising its minimum wage rate this coming September. The minimum wage will change from $8.80 per hour to $9.40 per hour, for all workers except those who mainly serve alcohol in their occupations – these workers will be paid a minimum wage of $9.05 per hour since a significant portion of their income comes from tips and gratuities. The changes will continue after six months when the minimum wage will increase further from $9.40 per hour to $10.05 per hour. The minimum wage for liquor servers will remain $9.05 for the time being in an effort to balance the average minimum wage earning levels, thus creating a $1.00 difference between those whose primary job it is to serve liquor and all other low-wage workers. The increase in wage rate makes Alberta the province with the third-highest minimum wage rate in Canada.
There are many benefits to this increase, one being a higher income for low-wage workers who need it most. Additionally, higher minimum wage rates will help Alberta attract more immigrants who are students, low-skilled workers, or who have found a low-paying job opportunity in Alberta. With more immigrants choosing to settle in Alberta, the Albertan economy will continuously be stimulated as more people will be available to take on entry-level positions. As these employees work their way up into higher-paying positions, subsequent Canadian immigrants will continue to fill the entry-level positions, and the cycle of success should perpetuate.
The prospects for newcomers to Alberta are significantly expanded by this increase in the minimum wage rate. Immigrants to a new country often begin their occupational careers at an entry-level position while they settle into their new environment, and they must support themselves with the low wages they earn. Furthermore, foreign students who come to Canada with a Canada study permit sometimes want or need to find part-time employment to help them pay for their living expenses while they study abroad. For these foreign workers and foreign students who largely fill entry-level positions, the increase in the minimum wage rate in Alberta is extremely attractive and beneficial. Foreign workers will receive a higher weekly income, which will lessen the burden of their cost of living while enabling them to support their family abroad through larger remittances. This translates to an improved quality of life all around, and an improved chance of settling down rapidly and pursuing a higher-paying position in the Canadian immigrants chosen field. As for foreign students, a higher minimum wage rate means that the burden of tuition is significantly decreased, and foreign students can focus their energy on education, eventually leading them to higher-paying careers in the future.
In a province as rich and beautiful as Alberta, having a higher minimum wage rate allows entry-level workers to enjoy a relatively high standard of living. That said, since the percentage of Albertans who are actually paid minimum wage is only 1.4% of the province’s total population, the opportunity to increase one’s salary and income level is imminent after one enters the workforce. A high minimum wage raises the bar for all subsequent salaries earned in the future.
Since the wage increase is incremental, businesses in Alberta will unlikely suffer a significant loss of profits. Moreover, foreigners interested in Canadian immigration will be more enticed to settle in Alberta – a province that offers high wages and a great quality of life upon arrival.
For more information about immigrating to Canada, contact FWCanada – Canadian Immigration Law Firm