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A living wage for Red Deerians would have to be $3.75 more than minimum wage, Network finds

Red Deer is still along the most affordable places to live in the province
The basic costs of living in Alberta are outstripping many people’s wages, the Alberta Living Wage Network has found. (AP Photo/Alberto Mariani, File)

Red Deerians would have to bring home at least $18.75 per hour to earn a living wage.

The Alberta Living Wage Network collaborated with 16 municipalities and organizations to release the new living wage rates for 2023 on Thursday.

And Red Deer appears to be among the least expensive places to live in the province — although this would be cold comfort to those earning the $15 provincial minimum wage, or just above.

Only residents of Medicine Hat were calculated by the Network to need a lower living wage than in Red Deer, and their requirement is still $17.35 per hour.

The other 14 communities evaluated by the Network all required substantially higher living wage rates — from the $38.80 per hour for Canmore to $18.80 in Grande Prairie.

Calgarians would need $23.70 per hour to make a modest living, Edmontonians $22.25 per hour, Lethbridge residents $20.60 per hour, and Drayton Valley residents $19.55.

It was clear from the list that Alberta’s minimum wage of $15 per hour is far from adequate members of the Alberta Living Wage Network.

They defined living wage as the hourly wage a worker needs to earn to cover basic expenses, and still have a modest standard of living once government transfers have been added and taxes have been subtracted.

Calculations on the list are based on the income needs of three household types: a two-parent family with two young children, or a lone-parent family with one child, or a single individual. The Network assumed that each adult is working full-time hours and has put aside some savings for unexpected costs, continuing education, child care, and a small amount to be able to “participate in the community.”

Ryan Lacanilao, co-ordinator of the Alberta Living Wage Network said, “Despite increasing costs on just about everything – particularly shelter – we did see some things that put downward pressure on the living wages. Government affordability measures and the Canada Dental Benefit have helped families.

“What’s missing in Alberta is any real action on increasing minimum wage despite every single other province making increases.”

Meaghon Reid, executive-director of Vibrant Communities Calgary and member of the Network, said “We have more than a hundred thousand people on the brink of losing their shelter and many people making trade-offs that they never thought they would have to make. But we also saw that the government’s affordability payments made a difference – albeit temporarily.

“It’s time for longer-term action that will help people right now.”

The Alberta Living Wage Network consists of community organizations and municipalities that want to advance the living wage movement in Alberta. For more information, please visit

Lana Michelin

About the Author: Lana Michelin

Lana Michelin has been a reporter for the Red Deer Advocate since moving to the city in 1991.
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