From coast to coast, Canada has some incredibly scenic provinces, but few compare to Alberta. From mountainscapes and modern cities, there’s a whole lot to love … but living here comes with a price.
While it’s far more affordable to live in Calgary or Edmonton than in Toronto or Vancouver – many still struggle to keep their head above water and today we saw exactly what the cost of living is for 2022 in each major Alberta city.
From necessities like food, clothing, and shelter, as well as additional costs like education and child care, community organization Living Wage Alberta has broken it all down and what they found was sobering.
As you may have already guessed, Alberta’s cost of living (in all cities) went up from last year, despite the minimum wage remaining at just $15 per hour.
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“Everything that has gotten more expensive and that living wage policy is like a proxy to the cost of living,” Meaghon Reid, the Executive Director of Vibrant Communities Calgary told Curiocity.
“I do think people will understand this number in a way that they’ve never really understood it.”
According to this year’s report, Alberta’s most affordable city was Medicine Hat at $17.50, which was significantly less per hour (in a full-time job) than Canmore, where residents will need to make $32.75 in order to live sacrifice-free.
Other places listed like Calgary, Cochrane, Drayton Valley, and Fort McMurray were also much higher than the minimum wage, costing residents anywhere between $19.65 to $22.50.
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“We are in such an affordability crisis and I think one of the challenges, from our perspective at Vibrant Communities Calgary, is that it’s not necessarily being met with urgency.”
“What it costs to live keeps rising – so we weren’t surprised to see these numbers.”
Here’s a complete collection of other living wages in Alberta for 2022:
- Calgary: $22.40
- Canmore: $32.75
- Cochrane: $22.35
- Drayton Valley: $19.65
- Drumheller: $21.20
- Edmonton: $21.40
- Fort McMurray: $22.50
- Grand Prairie: $19.65
- Lethbridge: $20.30
- Medicine Hat: $17.50
- Red Deer: $19.65
- Rocky Mountain House: $21.85
- Spruce Grove: $20.70
- St. Albert: $22.40
- Stony Plain: $20.40
So what do we do now?
Well, as Reid explained to us, while this is a serious systematic issue – it’s a solvable one. If you’re comfortable doing so, she recommends putting pressure on lawmakers and large company employers to revisit Alberta’s living wage.
“The good news is that we can actually introduce things right away [like last year’s child tax credit] that will help this significantly. We have the power to vote, to advocate for change and to be good allies for those who aren’t able to speak up for themselves,” she said.
In addition – those who are in need, want to help or who are looking for resources can call 211 or visit their website.
We what to hear what you think! Was the Alberta cost of living in your city what you expected?