How helpful are statistics about current minimum wage workers when it comes to the discussion about the provincial governments plan to move the minimum to $15?

A:

Critics of the current government’s plan to increase the minimum wage in stages to $15 by 2018 often argue that increases aren’t really needed because few Albertans actually earn the minimum wage.

We should be looking at statistics related to all Albertans who currently earn low-wages (under $15 per hour), not just those who earn the lowest possible wage. This is the group that is struggling to make ends meet; it’s the group that will be directly affected by the move to a $15 minimum; and it’s a MUCH larger group than the group of Albertans earning the exact minimum wage. The current Government of Alberta statistics put that number at around 300,000 Albertans. That’s a huge number of workers, and they deserve to earn a living wage. 


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