The province estimates that 305,000 employed Albertans earn less than $15 an hour.
It’s now on the books and in effect: Alberta’s minimum wage will be $15 an hour by 2018.
Labour Minister Christina Gray says cabinet has passed the required regulation to not only raise the rate to $12.20 an hour this October, but also to boost it by $1.40 an hour again in October 2017 and finally in October 2018.
The move aligns with promises made by Notley and Gray to hike the wage.
« One of the things we heard strongly from many of the stakeholders, including business, was the desire for certainty, to know what was coming, » said Gray in an interview. « In July we laid out the plan for all three years, and now we’ve enacted that plan for all three years. »
Gray said it’s critical to pay lower-end earners a fair wage, adding the money will be re-invested into the economy.
« We are committed to supporting to our low-wage Albertans, people who are working full-time jobs and are still not able to make ends meet, » she said.
The province is also making changes to the minimum wage paid to servers, bartenders and others whose main job is to dispense liquor.
Those workers have traditionally been paid $1 an hour less than minimum wage to compensate for what was accepted to be more money in tips.
In 2015, the province closed the gap from $1 to 50 cents an hour. As of Oct. 1, the gap will be gone completely and liquor servers will receive the same minimum wage as everyone else.