fbpx
Categories
News

AB’s “Job Creation Tax Cut” didn’t lead to high wage growth

Instead, Alberta has seen the worst wage growth performance in Canada since June 2019, the month before the UCP government cut the tax on corporate profits by 33%.

Late last month, Statistics Canada released updated data on employment and average weekly earnings for each of the provinces. The new seasonally adjusted data was as of October 2022.

I figured I’d take a look to see how the wage situation looks in Alberta.

AB$1,259.32
ON$1,200.69
BC$1,169.06
NL$1,165.18
SK$1,144.25
QC$1,123.07
MB$1,075.20
NB$1,068.44
NS$1,033.15
PEI$984.50

Unsurprisingly, Alberta had the highest average weekly wages in Canada. This is something Alberta politicians have been extolling for years.

But take a look at the increase in weekly wages.

In October 2022, the average weekly wages were $1,259.32 in Alberta. The month before, that number was $1,264.89. That’s a $5.57 decrease, the second largest decrease in the country.

Sep 2022Oct 2022Change% change
NS$1,000.59$1,033.15$32.563.25%
NL$1,155.64$1,165.18$9.540.83%
MB$1,066.33$1,075.20$8.870.83%
QC$1,117.19$1,123.07$5.880.53%
NB$1,068.62$1,068.44-$0.18-0.02%
PEI$985.53$984.50-$1.03-0.10%
ON$1,202.28$1,200.69-$1.59-0.13%
BC$1,171.18$1,169.06-$2.12-0.18%
AB$1,264.89$1,259.32-$5.57-0.44%
SK$1,154.13$1,144.25-$9.88-0.86%

When we look at the increase as a percentage of August’s job numbers, we see that Alberta is still in 2nd last place. So, even though the average Alberta worker had the highest weekly wages in the country, everyone else but Saskatchewan, either saw their wages increase or any decreases they saw were smaller than those seen by the average Alberta worker.

The national increase was $3.65 more a week, so Alberta was significantly below the national average.

Next, let’s look at the last year.

Oct 2021Oct 2022Change% change
NL$1,101.74$1,165.18$63.445.76%
NB$1,006.75$1,068.44$61.696.13%
QC$1,074.54$1,123.07$48.534.52%
MB$1,031.96$1,075.20$43.244.19%
NS$990.34$1,033.15$42.814.32%
PEI$944.35$984.50$40.154.25%
AB$1,220.28$1,259.32$39.043.20%
BC$1,136.85$1,169.06$32.212.83%
ON$1,169.71$1,200.69$30.982.65%
SK$1,120.01$1,144.25$24.242.16%

Alberta actually had the fourth smallest increase when we compare to October 2021. So, wages still increased, but by not as much as 6 other provinces.

The national average was $42.63, which was over $12 more a week than what workers in Alberta saw wages increase by.

And we’re also in fourth-to-last place on a percentage basis.

Here’s what job numbers look like when we compare October 2022 to October 2020, seven months into the pandemic.

Oct 2020Oct 2022Change% change
MB$995.39$1,075.20$79.818.02%
BC$1,095.32$1,169.06$73.746.73%
AB$1,186.17$1,259.32$73.156.17%
NL$1,094.19$1,165.18$70.996.49%
QC$1,056.40$1,123.07$66.676.31%
NB$1,003.52$1,068.44$64.926.47%
ON$1,141.16$1,200.69$59.535.22%
SK$1,094.21$1,144.25$50.044.57%
NS$1,007.49$1,033.15$25.662.55%
PEI$967.30$984.50$17.201.78%

Here we see that Alberta had the third largest increase in wages over the last two years, but 6th largest relative to average weekly wages in October 2020.

The national average wage increased $58.17 between October 2020 and October 2022, which is just about $15 less than the increase Alberta workers saw.

But look how bad things are if we go 3 years out, to June 2019, the month before the UCP cut the corporate profit tax by 33%, what they called a “Job Creation Tax Cut”.

Jun 2019Oct 2022Change% change
BC$992.04$1,169.06$177.0217.84%
ON$1,035.23$1,200.69$165.4615.98%
QC$963.34$1,123.07$159.7316.58%
NB$932.71$1,068.44$135.7314.55%
NS$898.03$1,033.15$135.1215.05%
MB$945.51$1,075.20$129.6913.72%
PEI$857.01$984.50$127.4914.88%
SK$1,034.84$1,144.25$109.4110.57%
NL$1,064.43$1,165.18$100.759.47%
AB$1,164.28$1,259.32$95.048.16%

Alberta’s growth in average weekly wages since August 2019 was the lowest of all the provinces in Canada. In fact, we were the only province that saw average weekly wages increase by less than $100.

Newfoundland and Labrador was the next lowest, at $100.75.

BC, however, had the highest increase to average weekly wages over the last 3 years, rising by $177.02 a week, nearly twice the increase that Alberta workers saw during the same period.

Alberta also had the lowest increase in average weekly wages, as a percentage of June 2019 wages.

If these sort of increases keep happening, Alberta workers may no longer have the highest wages in the country.

Support independent journalism

By Kim Siever

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

Comment on this story

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: