Alberta Minimum Wage Increase Coming October 1

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by Jessica Powell, CCVO Policy Analyst

In the spirit of Labour Day, it’s time to talk wages. On October 1st, 2018, Alberta's minimum wage will increase to $15.00 an hour, up from $13.60 an hour. This increase will mark the final stage in a series of minimum wage increases enacted by the Alberta Government. In 2015, Alberta was the first province to commit to a $15.00 minimum wage phase-in, and as of October 1st, will be the first province or state in North America to accomplish it.     

Nonprofit organizations are unique when it comes to minimum wage. Most are overwhelmingly supportive of the wage increase because of its positive impact on individual economic security and its contribution to vibrant communities. However, nonprofits also face tight financial constraints and regulatory changes can have significant financial impact on the organization. This most recent increase comes at a time when nonprofits are contending with the lingering effects of an economic downturn, changes to Occupational Health and Safety requirements and Employment Standards. With these compounding changes, Alberta nonprofits are experiencing higher operational costs and decreased financial support from funders and donors, who are feeling financial pressures of their own. 

As a crosscutting issue affecting Alberta’s nonprofit sector, CCVO encourages the Government of Alberta to consider the unique needs of the sector and recommends the following:

1.       Alberta Labour establish a robust education and training program to support nonprofit organizations in adjusting to new regulations Nonprofits vary widely in their level of knowledge of regulatory requirements that affect them. While some organizations keep abreast of policy developments and participate in the policy-making process, other organizations lack the capacity to keep up-to-date on public affairs.

2.       Provincial funding that offsets the costs associated with changes to workplace legislation. The 2018-19 budget references “additional funding to support updated labour laws”, which is encouraging and we look forward to hearing more.

3.       The Government of Alberta adjust its own funding and contracts to nonprofits that receive provincial government funding so that they are commensurate with the increased costs created by regulatory changes.

4.       The Government continue monitoring the intended and unintended consequences of the changes to minimum wage, as well as changes to Employment Standards. CCVO applauds the Ministry of Labour for adopting a phased-in approach to the minimum wage increase, and for monitoring the effects of this increase on Albertans.

CCVO is currently engaged with the Ministry of Labour and the Government of Alberta to discuss these issues. The nonprofit sector is a necessary contributor to the economic vibrancy of Alberta, and it is crucial to have the continued support of the province during this transition period of legislative changes. CCVO will continue to monitor impacts of new legislation and impacts of the forthcoming minimum wage increase on nonprofits. Watch for updates from CCVO on an ongoing basis. Follow us on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.