Effective October 1, 2016, Alberta's minimum wage will
increase from $11.20 per hour to $12.20 per hour. This is the first
step in the Provincial government's plan to raise the minimum
wage in Alberta to $15.00 per hour by October 1, 2018. The second
step of the plan will kick in on October 1, 2017 when the minimum
wage will increase to $13.60 per hour.
Additionally, as of October 1, 2016 there will no longer be a
lower minimum wage for employees serving liquor as part of their
regular job. Instead, these workers must be paid the regular hourly
minimum wage, which, as of that date, will be $12.20 per hour.
These increases affect all workers including foreign nationals
employed in Alberta with or without a Labour Market Impact
Assessment. Employers need to be aware of these changes, as
improperly paying a foreign national could have serious
consequences under the new Temporary Foreign Worker Program's
The minimum hourly wage is not the only aspect of the Employment
Standards legislation that is changing. Weekly and monthly minimum
wages are increasing as well. Many individuals in Alberta are paid
based on an hourly rate; however, certain occupations, typically
involving irregular work schedules or commissioned earnings, are
not well suited to an hourly wage. Employees in such situations do
not have to record their hours worked and are entitled to weekly
and monthly minimums regardless of the number of hours worked. For
example, caregivers who live in their employer's residence are
currently entitled to monthly minimum pay of $2,127. On October 1,
2016 this amount will be raised to $2,316, and then increased
annually by $266 for the next two years. Caregivers who do not
reside with their employer must record their hours and are entitled
to at least the minimum wage.
Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
On October 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which ordered an employer to pay a former employee 37 months of salary and benefits following termination.
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