AB saw lowest wage growth in Canada under UCP

During the first 3 years of the UCP administration, Alberta worker wages increased at the slowest rate in Canada.

I recently came across Statistics Canada data on wages in Canada, and I was curious about how wages have grown in the various provinces over the last several years.

What I found was that it wasn’t good news for Alberta workers.

Between 2018—the last year of the NDP administration—and 2021—the most recent data available—the average hourly wage in Alberta increased $1.92, from $30.60 to $32.52.

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That was the second lowest wage increase in the country. Only Saskatchewan saw an increase smaller than that: $1.76.

Here, take a look.

And when we look at the change relative to the starting wage, Alberta saw the lowest increase in the country.

And it doesn’t matter whether it was full-time wages or part-time wages, either.

Alberta saw the second-lowest hourly wage for full-time workers over the last 3 years of all the provinces. Once again, only Saskatchewan was lower. Alberta full-time workers saw only a $2.35 increase, compared to $4.03 in BC.

It’s even worse for part-time workers.

Here, we see that Alberta actually had the worst increase in part-time hourly wages. In fact, it was the only province to see part-time wages increase by less than $1 an hour.

By comparison, the average BC part-time worker saw their wage increase by over $3 an hour.

While I’m here, I thought I’d also compare what the numbers were like under the NDP. I mean, maybe having the worst wage increases in the country isn’t specific to the UCP being in charge. Maybe it’s an Alberta thing.

First, let’s look at overall wages.

During the first three years of the NDP’s administration, Alberta workers actually saw the largest increase in the country. The average hourly wage jumped $1.83, from $28.05 in 2014 to $29.88 in 2017.

If we look at increased relative to the baseline year, Alberta is less impressive. That being said, 4th largest increase is still better than the smallest increase Alberta workers saw under the UCP.

Here, we see that while the NDP were in power, full-time workers in Alberta saw the largest absolute increase in the province, with the average hourly wage rising by $2.14. On a percentage basis, they were tied with New Brunswick for third place, at 7.21%.

Alberta also saw the largest increase in average part-time wages under the NDP government, jumping up $1.58 an hour. That was an increase of 8.24%, the highest in the country after Manitoba.

Either way you look at it, workers outside of Alberta benefited more than the workers within Alberta under the UCP, especially when compared to how they did under the NDP.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

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