What is a Living Wage

Living wages are rooted in the belief that individuals and families should not just survive, but be able to live in dignity, and participate in their community.

Living Wages in your Community

After months of collaboration, the Alberta Living Wage Network has developed a standard methodology for calculating living wages across the province.

A living wage is the hourly wage a worker needs to earn to cover their basic expenses and participate in their community.

Note that the following living wage rates do not extras such as include benefits, perks, and paid time off (above the legislated minimum). An employer is eligible for certification if the base pay plus the value of extras is equal to or greater than the listed rate for their community. Note that the listed rates are based on a family of four, except for Cochrane, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, and Rocky Mountain House, which are based on the weighted average of a family of four and a single individual.

2021 Living Wages

  • Calgary: $18.60
  • Canmore: $37.40 (a)
  • Chestermere: $18.60
  • Cochrane: $21.00 (b)
  • Drayton Valley: $15.50
  • Drumheller: $19.70
  • Edmonton: $18.10
  • Grande Prairie: $19.45
  • Fort McMurray: $26.50 (c)
  • Lethbridge $19.00
  • Red Deer $17.15
  • Rocky Mountain House $18.05
  • Stony Plain: $17.20
  • Strathcona County: $16.80

For more information check out detailed calculations by municipality.  

(a) Special eligibility criteria for living wage certification in Canmore: Employer must pay at least $23.70 (the wage needed for a single individual to cover expenses) to all employees, and the average wage of all employees must be at least $28.55 (the weighted average between the single individual wage and the family of four wage)

(b) Amended on August 15, 2022 to the weighted average of the wage needed for a family of four and a single individual living alone. Special eligibility criteria for living wage certification in Cochrane: Employer must pay at least $20.15 (the wage needed for a single individual to cover expenses) to all employees, and the average wage of all employees must be at least $21.00 (the weighted average between the single individual wage and the family of four wage)

(c) Amended on June 14, 2022 to include northern residents deductions.

Yellow map of Alberta with living wages overlaid

“I believe in paying a livable wage because I think anybody who is willing to work to the best of their abilities should be adequately compensated. I’d like to see more people being adequately compensated and not have to stretch themselves so thin.”

Lynsae Moon, The Nook Café