Alberta has pioneered wage increases throughout Canada, as it was the first province to set a $15 minimum hourly wage. Even though other provinces have recently increased their minimum wages, Alberta remains one of the highest-paying provinces in Canada.
If you’ve ever wondered what the minimum wage in Alberta is, then you’re in the right place!
Below, I’ll explain which jobs are exempt from minimum wage laws (or have to follow specific minimum wage laws). I’ll also outline the minimum wage tax rates in Alberta, and answer some of the most commonly asked questions.
Recently, British Columbia made national headlines for being the first province to tie the minimum wage to the current inflation rate, which boosted the minimum wage to $15.65 for most employees.
However, Alberta has no plans to increase its province’s minimum wage anytime soon.
When the province first increased its minimum wage to $15 in 2018, the change did cause problems. To keep up with the increasing cost of doing business, a number of small businesses had to let some of their employees go or increase their prices.
Not all Alberta residents are happy, though. With inflation on the rise, some are advocating for a $20 minimum wage increase in Alberta to help consumers keep up with the rising cost of fuel, groceries, and imports.
Many jobs (such as driving for a rideshare service) offer close to $20 per hour or more. However, the average employee working a minimum-wage job may find it difficult to keep up with rising costs.
The CRA and the province of Alberta use tax brackets to determine the percentage of your earnings that you’re required to pay in taxes. Generally speaking, the more you earn, the more you’ll pay in taxes.
That being said, Alberta has some of the lowest taxes in Canada, which allows local residents and business owners to save more money.
Additionally, the Alberta basic personal amount (the amount you’re allowed to earn before you’re taxed) is $19,369, which is almost $5,000 more than the federal basic amount.
This means that minimum wage earners will likely get to keep more of their earnings compared to other provinces with a lower basic personal amount.
After you earn more than $19,369, you’ll be subject to a 10% income tax rate. This tax remains the same until you start earning more than $131,220 per year, after which you’ll be subject to a 12% Alberta income tax.
Minimum Wage In Alberta Exceptions
Minimum wage laws apply to the majority of workers in Alberta, including salaried workers who are paid a set amount per week. According to the law, it is unlawful for any business to pay less than the minimum wage to its employees.
However, there are a few exceptions and special rules that apply to certain jobs/situations, such as:
- Students under age 18
- Federal employees
- Sales or commission-driven positions
- Domestic employees
Let’s take a quick look at each of these exceptions and special regulations below.
I still remember my first job working at a local breakfast food spot in Vancouver. I was 16 and still in school. I didn’t make much, but it gave me some spending money so I could have fun on the weekends.
Students under age 18 typically have far less working experience than your average adult worker. They also have lower expenses, as they probably live at home with their families.
Therefore, the government of Alberta doesn’t require businesses to pay the full minimum wage to student employees under age 18. Instead, students have a reduced minimum wage of $13 per hour until they come of age, which is when businesses are required to pay them at least $15 per hour.
If you’re a federal employee in Alberta (or any other province in Canada, for that matter), you’re automatically entitled to a minimum wage of at least $15.55 per hour. This is a federal law that applies to all government positions as well as federally-regulated businesses, such as:
- Postal service
- Federal Crown corporations
Sales positions can be some of the highest-paying jobs in the world. However, they can also be some of the lowest-paying jobs. Traditionally, your hustle and ability to sell clients on the product/service you’re representing can make you a millionaire or leave you penniless.
Thankfully, Alberta has some protections in place for sales workers, even if you’re having a horrible sales week.
Salespeople in Alberta must earn a minimum of $598 per week for their services. This may not sound like much, but it’s nice to know that you’ll never starve during a bad week.
Commission and incentive-based jobs are somewhat similar to sales positions in the fact that the worker’s income is based on how hard they work and how lucky they get. As such, Alberta requires businesses to pay a minimum wage based on the number of hours that commission or incentive-driven employees work.
Domestic employees are individuals who live in the home of their employee and provide a service, such as:
While domestic employees may have a reduced cost of living (providing they don’t maintain a personal residence), they’re still entitled to a fair wage. Live-in employees in Alberta must be paid a minimum of $2,848 per month.
Calgary is the largest city in Alberta and is home to over 1.3 million residents and over 53,000 businesses. The city of Calgary adheres to the same provincial minimum wage laws as Alberta, and employees in Calgary can expect to earn at least $15 per hour.
Edmonton isn’t quite as large as Alberta. The capital city of Alberta has a population of just under 1 million residents and just under 34,000 businesses. Like Calgary and other cities in Alberta, the minimum wage in Edmonton is $15 per hour.
Alberta was the first province to increase its minimum wage in 2018. However, Alberta no longer has the highest minimum wage. Currently, the Northwest Territory of Nunavut has the highest minimum wage and requires businesses to pay at least $16 per hour.
Here’s a quick look at the minimum wage in other Canadian provinces and territories:
- Nunavut (NorthwestTerritory) – $16 per hour
- Yukon – $15.70 per hour
- British Columbia – $15.65 per hour
- Ontario – $15.50 per hour
- Northwest Territory – $15.20 per hour
- Alberta – $15 per hour
- Quebec – $14.25 per hour
- New Brunswick – $13.75 per hour
- Prince Edward Island – $13.70 per hour
- Newfoundland and Labrador – $13.70 per hour
- Nova Scotia – $13.60 per hour
- Saskatchewan – $13 per hour
The minimum wage in Alberta is $15 per hour, which makes it the sixth highest-paying province in Canada.
Although other provinces and territories may offer a slightly higher minimum wage, Alberta has lower income taxes and a high basic personal amount, allowing residents to save more of what they earn.
Looking for more ways to save money in Alberta? Check out my top tips to save money on gasoline next!