Red Deer’s living wage increases $2.50 since last year

The gap between a living wage in Red Deer and Alberta’s minimum wage of $15 an hour has widened.

The Alberta Living Wage Network says Red Deerians would need to earn $19.65 an hour to earn a living wage, up from $17.15 in 2021.

Canmore has Alberta’s highest living wage this year at $32.75, followed by Fort McMurray at $22.50; Calgary and St. Albert for $22.40; Cochrane at $22.35; Rocky Mountain House for $21.85; Edmonton for $21.40; Drum Lighter at $21.20; Spruce Grove for $20.70; Rocky Plain for $20.40; Lethbridge for $20.30; Red Deer, Drayton Valley, and Grande Prairie for $19.65; and medicine hat for $17.50.

The living wage provides hourly wages for full-time work to maintain a modest standard of living that includes basic food, clothing and shelter, as well as unexpected expenses, small investments in education, childcare and community participation.

The Alberta Living Wage Network is a group of community organizations and municipalities dedicated to advancing a coordinated living wage movement in Alberta.

Bobby-Jo Stannard, superintendent of community development at the city’s Department of Safe and Healthy Communities, said Red Deer’s living wage is lower than most in Alberta because the city has infrastructure like a transit system so people could attend the community without a vehicle and lower housing costs; support programs for recreational, arts and cultural programs; housing and homelessness prevention programs; and the Red Deer Food Bank, which offers amazing support.

She said the city is involved in the Living Wage Network through the Central Alberta Poverty Reduction Alliance, and one of the alliance’s priorities going forward will be to connect with Red Deer employers on a living wage.

“We look forward to more conversations in the community about how this looks to individuals and how it benefits the company,” said Stannard.

“We have some employers at Red Deer who may not know they are paying a living wage or how close they are to paying a living wage.”

Alberta’s NDP accused the UCP of contributing to the worst cost-of-living crisis for Albertans in 40 years.

“It’s incredibly frustrating to see how this administration is imposing costs on families through tax hikes, car insurance hikes and electricity increases, on top of cutting Alberta’s childcare grant, freezing senior citizen support and cutting AISH,” said the Labor and immigration critic Christina Gray.

“They’re doing all this while wasting $3.5 million on an ad campaign promoting affordability programs that aren’t even being rolled out to Albertans.”

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