The gap between a living wage in Red Deer and Alberta’s $15 an hour minimum wage has widened.
The Alberta Living Wage Network says Red Deerians would have to earn an hourly wage of $19.65 to be paid a living wage, up from $17.15 in 2021.
Canmore has the highest living wage in Alberta this year at $32.75, followed by Fort McMurray at $22.50; Calgary and St. Albert at $22.40; Cochrane at $22.35; Rocky Mountain House at $21.85; Edmonton at $21.40; Drumheller at $21.20; Spruce Grove at $20.70; Stony Plain at $20.40; Lethbridge at $20.30; Red Deer, Drayton Valley and Grande Prairie at $19.65; and Medicine Hat at $17.50.
The living wage looks at hourly pay for full-time work to maintain a modest standard of living that includes basic food, clothing and shelter as well as unexpected costs, small investments in education, child care, and participating in the community.
The Alberta Living Wage Network is a group of community organizations and municipalities with the goal of advancing a co-ordinated living wage movement in Alberta.
Bobby-Jo Stannard, community development superintendent with the city’s Safe and Healthy Communities department, said Red Deer’s living wage was lower than most in Alberta because the city has infrastructure like a transit system so people can participate in the community without a vehicle, lower housing costs; assistance programs for recreation, arts and culture programs; housing and homelessness prevention programs; and the Red Deer Food Bank which provides amazing support.
She said the city participates in the living wage network through the Central Alberta Poverty Reduction Alliance and one of the alliance’s priorities moving forward will be to connect with Red Deer employers about a living wage.
“More conversations in the community about what that looks like for individuals, and how that benefits business, is something we’re looking forward to over the next year,” Stannard said.
“We have some employers in Red Deer who may not know they’re paying a living wage, or how close they are to paying a living wage.”
Alberta’s NDP blamed the UCP for contributing to the worst cost of living crisis for Albertans in 40 years.
“It’s incredibly frustrating to watch this government pile costs onto families through tax increases, car insurance increases, and electricity increases, in addition to reducing the Alberta child care subsidy, freezing seniors supports, and cutting AISH,” said labour and immigration critic Christina Gray.
“They are doing this all while wasting $3.5 million on an ad campaign promoting affordability programs that aren’t even being rolled out to Albertans.”