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Edmonton, Alberta: Minimal Wage Hike May Not Be Enough
Metro Edmonton
Heather McIntyre

June 2, 2011
View the Original Article

Minimum wage is on the way up, but it may not be enough to help many struggling to make ends meet.

The Alberta government announced yesterday minimum wage will rise from $8.80 to $9.40 per hour, while a new minimum wage will pay liquor servers $9.05 per hour as they also earn tips.

“Alberta needs to stay competitive with other provinces in Canada for the jobs that typically pay minimum wage,” said Thomas Lukaszuk, minister of employment and immigration.

Although only 1.4 per cent of Alberta employees make minimum wage, many earn less than a living wage — which is what is needed to get by — said Janice Melnychuk, executive director of Vibrant Communities Edmonton.

The low-income cutoff in Alberta is currently $12.25.

“Most people still can’t figure out who the government is trying to protect by keeping our minimum wage so low,” said Melnychuk.

Lukaszuk said too much of an increase would have an adverse effect on businesses, and some agree.

“Overall, they deserve even more,” said Sergio Turlione, co-owner of Rigoletto’s Cafe. “But it has to be a little at a time, so we can adjust accordingly.”