Alberta Living Wage Network releases 2022 new living wages
For Immediate Release
Nov. 15, 2022
LETHBRIDGE, AB - According to the Alberta Living Wage Network (ALWN), a living wage reflects what earners in a family need to bring home based on the actual costs of living in a specific community. ALWN has released new living wages across the province. The new 2022 living wages include Lethbridge $20.30, Calgary $22.40, Edmonton $21.40 and Medicine Hat $17.50.
Living wages are rooted in the belief individuals and families should not just survive, but be able to live in dignity, and participate in their community. The living wage is defined as the hourly wage a worker needs to earn to cover their basic expenses and participate in the community. ALWN is made up of community organizations and municipalities with the goal of advancing the co-ordinated living wage movement in Alberta. The Network assists municipalities in their annual living wage calculations and provides certification to qualifying living wage employers.
Alberta Living Wage communities’ year-over-year numbers have increased, in some cases significantly. There has been record inflation rates, which means the prices of goods and services have increased more than usual. The 2021 rates and previous have usually been based on the income needs of a family of four.
In 2022, rates have broadened and are based on three household types: (1) a family of four, (2) a lone-parent family with one young child and (3) a single individual living alone. The income needs for a lone-parent family and a single individual living alone can often be higher than for a family of four with two working adults, so this would push the living wage higher compared to previous years.
This year, the calculations were updated to be a weighted average because wages should not be based on family composition or lifestyle, so it is now combining the numbers into just one rate per community employers need to pay to be eligible for living wage certification.
Executive Director of the United Way of Lethbridge & South Western Alberta Jaci Zalesak says businesses have faced unprecedented challenges over the past two years.
“The intention of releasing the new living wages for 2022 is to shed light on what it actually costs to live in Alberta, not to add further stress to companies. Calculating and publishing the living wage helps inform businesses, as well as policy makers at the local level.”
Another local organization supporting a living wage is the Social Health Equity Network of Lethbridge & Area or SHENLA.
“SHENLA is promoting a living wage for Lethbridge and area to support health equity and to end working poverty,” noted Sharon Yanicki.
A 2022 study on food bank usage reported 14.1 per cent of food bank clients reported employment as their main source of income. This clearly demonstrates wages in some industries are not in-line with the local cost of living.
For more information about the Alberta Living Wage please refer to www.livingwagealberta.ca.