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‘We can actually afford this’: Alberta NDP leadership candidate Kathleen Ganley pitches minimum wage increase

NDP leadership candidate Kathleen Ganley is proposing a hike in Alberta’s minimum wage to $16 an hour.

Alberta’s present minimum wage of  $15 an hour matches that of Newfoundland and Labradour, PEI, and Nova Scotia. In B.C., it’s $16.75 and in Ontario, it’s $16.55.

The only province with a lower minimum wage is Saskatchewan, at $14.00 an hour.

Ganley is also proposing:

  • A further increase to $17 in 2025;
  • A permanent tie between the minimum wage and the rate of inflation; and
  • The immediate removal of the youth minimum wage.


Akidad Sangaj is an international student at SAIT taking business classes who also works part time at a warehouse.

“It’s really tough in the time being as the inflation has really escalated. I don’t think at $15 somebody can survive,” she said.

For employers, adjusting to an increased minimum wage would cut into their bottom line. Matthew Osman owns Euphoria Cafe and currently pays his staff “as close as possible to a living wage” of approximately $18 an hour.

“Paying them close to a living wage is already hard on me,” said Osman. “It will hurt business but you will somehow have to adapt.”


One economy and labour expert believes the province’s wage floor needs to rise, calling the proposal modest.

“First of all, it’s not out of line with minimum wages across the country,” said Paul Kellog, a professor in political science, economy and labour at Athabasca University. “Alberta is a very rich province (and) we can actually afford this.”

According to Kellog, as minimum wages increase, there should be support for small businesses to support them.

“A reasonable proposal would be to match increases in the minimum wage with increases of support to small business so that they can deal with this kind of economic issue and other economic issues.”

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