Alberta Minimum Wage 2021

Alberta Minimum Wage 2021

Written by Matthew Taylor
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated November 19, 2021

Alberta’s minimum wage of $15.00 per hour is one of the highest in Canada, second only to the minimum wage in Nunavut. Because of the high minimum wage and low cost of living in Alberta due to government-sponsored cost-of-living advantages, most people in Alberta are generally financially secure. The minimum wage of $15.00 per hour was instituted in 2018, where it has remained ever since.

What Is A Minimum Wage? 

A minimum wage is the lowest hourly wage that employees can legally be paid by their employer, regardless of whether they work part-time or full-time. Each province and territory has its own labour laws, minimum wage, and exceptions, but most hourly employees are paid at least the minimum wage. 

Alberta Minimum Wage Rate

The minimum wage in Alberta is $15.00 per hour. It increased every year between 2009 when the minimum wage was $8.80 per hour, and 2018 when the minimum wage became $15.00 per hour.

Most employees in Alberta must be paid at least the minimum wage, but there are a few exceptions for students and for certain professions.

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Exceptions to Alberta’s Minimum Wage

There are several exceptions to Alberta’s minimum wage:

Students Under The Age of 18

  • The Employment Standards (Minimum Wage) Amendment Regulation introduced a lower wage, $13.oo per hour, for students under 18 to help with job creation. 
  • This wage applies to the first 28 hours worked in a week while school is in session. After 28 hours in a week, an employer must pay them the regular minimum wage of $15.00 per hour.
  • This wage also applies to students under 18 who work during a school break or summer holidays regardless of how many hours they work in a week.

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Salespeople (land agents, certain professionals, etc.)

  • Employees in this category, who can be found on the Government of Alberta website, earn a minimum of $598 per week.

Domestic Live-in Employees 

  • These employees earn a minimum of $2,848 per month.
  • Domestic employees who do not live in their employer’s home earn the general minimum wage of $15.00 per hour.

Incentive-Based Pay or Commission

  • Employees who are paid in this way must earn at least the minimum wage for all hours worked in a pay period.
  • These hours are calculated by dividing a month’s wages by the number of hours worked in a month.
  • If these pay structures result in an employee being paid less than minimum wage, then the employer must supplement their pay to meet the minimum wage requirement.

For more information, visit the Government of Alberta website.

Allowable Deductions to Minimum Wage

  • Employees must provide written authorization for employers to reduce their wages below the minimum wage for meals (by $3.35 for meals that the employee consumes) and lodging (by $4.41 for each day that employers provide employees with lodging).
  • Employers cannot deduct any uniform expenses from minimum wage, including purchasing, cleaning, or repairing a uniform that an employee is required to wear during work hours.

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Alberta Minimum Wage and Hours Worked

Depending on the type of employment you have and the number of hours you work, there are some extra rules about the minimum wage in Alberta that all employees should know.

  • 3 Hour Rule: An employee must be paid for at least 3 hours of work if they are available to work, even if they work for less than 3 hours.
  • 2 Hour Rule: This rule is the same as the 3-hour rule, but it applies to school bus drivers, home care employees, part-time employees of locally-run non-profit recreation or athletic programs, and 13-15-year-olds who work on a school day. 
  • Overtime Rules: Most students and employees are entitled to overtime pay, although there are exceptions for some industries and professions. Overtime is all hours worked over 8 hours in a day or 44 hours in a week (whichever is greater). Unless there is a written overtime agreement, overtime is paid at a rate of 1.5 times an employee’s regular wage.

Minimum Wage Paycheque Deductions

Even though the minimum wage is the lowest hourly wage rate an employer can legally pay an employee, employees will still see deductions on their paycheque. These deductions can include:

  • Employment Insurance (EI): Paid to the federal government to support the Employment Insurance program, which provides those who are not working with financial benefits.
  • Canada Pension Plan (CPP): Paid to the federal government to support the Canada Pension Plan, which is used paid to those who have retired from work.
  • Income tax: Both the federal and provincial governments collect income taxes to fund their spending.
  • Other deductions: Union dues are deducted if an employee is a member of a union. Employers may sponsor pension benefit plans, and contributions are taken directly from an employee’s paycheque. Health benefits and insurance premiums, which are voluntary, may also be deducted from a paycheque.

Alberta Minimum Wage FAQs

How much has Alberta’s minimum wage increased over the last 10 years?

Alberta’s minimum wage has increased by $5.60 per hour over the last 10 years. In 2011, the minimum wage was $9.40 per hour, and now it is $15.00 per hour.

Do students receive minimum wage in Alberta?

Some students receive the general minimum wage of $15.00 per hour, but employers are generally allowed to pay students under 18, $13.00 per hour.

Who has the highest minimum wage in Canada?

Nunavut has the highest minimum wage at $16.00 per hour, followed by Alberta at $15.00 per hour.

Final Thoughts

Alberta has one of the highest minimum wages in Canada at $15.00 per hour. This wage must be paid, at minimum, to most employees in Alberta, although there are exceptions. Employers can deduct the cost of meals and lodging from the minimum wage. There are also some extra rules around minimum wage, such as having to be paid for at least 3 hours of work, and there are some non-employer deductions that can be taken directly from an employee’s paycheque. Overall, the minimum wage in Alberta is high enough that, when coupled with cost-of-living benefits offered in Alberta, it is generally a livable wage.


Rating of 5/5 based on 4 votes.

Matthew joined the Loans Canada writing team in 2021 while was finishing up a Bachelor's degree at the University of Saskatchewan. It was there that he discovered his love of writing. His work has appeared in several publications, including the Canadian Student Review and NewEngineer.com. In his spare time, Matthew enjoys reading, geocaching, and spending time with his family and pets.

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