June 7, 2010
To: Standing Committee on the Economy
From: Alberta Students’ Executive Council
Labour market regulation: a changing context
Since mid-2008, volatile investment markets and dramatic evaporation of wealth
prompted the global community to re-evaluate foundational economic principles like
never before. In particular, changes in the labour market have encouraged far-
reaching policy reconsideration and review including taxation of income models,
support for unemployed and the under-employed, and minimum wage thresholds.
As such, it is with a sense of gratitude that the Alberta Students’ Executive Council
(ASEC) contributes its input to the Alberta’s Standing Committee on the Economy
review of the province’s Minimum Wage Legislation. Although significant changes
were made in 2007 to the province’s principles surrounding the framework on
minimum wages, ASEC believes that exploring the ways in which minimum wage
thresholds are determined in order to better reflect market and economic
necessities is a worthwhile and important endeavor.
Moreover, given the overrepresentation of young Albertans among minimum age
earners, special consideration should be given for the ways in which minimum wage
policy affects Alberta students.
Minimum wages and Alberta students
While there are few statistics on the precise number of Alberta post-secondary
students earning minimum wage, there are numerous ways in wage standards
impact on the financial health of Alberta students.
Minimum wage earners in Alberta constitute only 1.3% of Alberta’s workforce;
compared to the nationwide average of 5.8% 1. While this is indeed an encouraging
statistic, it merits noting that nearly 60% of all workers earning minimum wage are
25 years of age or younger2. Many of these young workers plan to become, or
currently are, post-secondary students.
1 Statistics Canada: Fact Sheet on Minimum Wage
2 Statistics Canada: Fact Sheet on Minimum