kenney-minwage-young_thumb This article is more than 3 years old

Jason Kenney Rewards Big Business Lobbyists By Clawing Back Wages for Young, Low-Income Workers

Kenney’s discriminatory wage cut is even bigger than what big business lobbyists were asking for

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has unveiled a new plan to roll back workers’ wages and transfer  wealth to Canada’s biggest companies.

Standing shoulder to shoulder with big business lobbyists at a press conference Monday in Calgary, Kenney revealed his Bill 2 and Bill 3 will make Alberta one of only two provinces across Canada where some workers can be paid less than the minimum wage.

Beginning June 26, the minimum wage for workers under the age of 18 will be lowered to $13 per hour.

As PressProgress reported previously, Kenney’s discriminatory wage cut is even bigger than what the business lobby had demanded a year earlier.

As the Alberta Federation of Labour noted, it will cost the lowest-paid workers up to $3,000 every year.

When asked about this, Kenney flippantly told media: “Look — 13 bucks an hour — that’s a heck of a lot more than zero bucks an hour.”

The move was praised by fast food lobby group Restaurants Canada, which noted Kenney’s attack on workers “acts” on many of the recommendations it “made during the provincial election to help improve realities for restaurants.”

The changes also cut deep into workers’ overtime and association rights.

Kenney’s attacks on overtime would allow banked hours to be paid at a rate 33% lower than before, and that could hit oil workers especially hard.

The proposed changes, the Globe reported, also tighten rules for statutory pay — requiring employees to work 30 days before even being eligible for statutory pay.

The changes also restrict workers’ rights to unionize by requiring a second vote after the majority of workers in a workplace already signed cards indicating they want to unionize, something that only gives management a chance to intimidate workers not to go ahead with unionizing.

Following the 2017 introduction of card-check certification, Alberta saw the highest number of new union certifications in a decade, contributing to higher wages and greater job security for workers. The Alberta Labour Relations Board found that the province’s new union locals more than doubled in 2017-2018, with much of that in construction, food service, retail and healthcare.

Athabasca University Labour Relations professor Bob Barnetson told CBC News that was very-likely because, with card-check certification, “employers have less opportunity to interfere with workers exercising their associational rights.”


Our journalism is powered by readers like you.

We’re an award-winning non-profit news organization that covers topics like social and economic inequality, big business and labour, and right-wing extremism.

Help us build so we can bring to light stories that don’t get the attention they deserve from Canada’s big corporate media outlets.


PressProgress is an award-winning non-profit news organization focused on uncovering and unpacking the news through original investigative and explanatory journalism.

Most Shared

thumb-2022-12-05-ottawa-police New

2023 ‘Freedom Convoy’ Reunion is Officially Cancelled, Convoy Organizer Says

Related Stories


Manitoba Government Deactivated Email Accounts That Sourced Millions in COVID-19 Contracts

View the post

Doug Ford’s Government Met With Lobbyists Pitching ‘Uber’-Style App for Health Care Workers

View the post

BC Government Looking Into International Student Overdoses After Community Sounds Alarm

View the post


Human rights & inclusion

Amira Elghawaby

Here’s The Problem With Hoping Corporations Will Be Socially and Environmentally Responsible On Their Own

View the post
Politics & strategy

Jeremy Appel

The battle of the PACs in Calgary’s municipal election

View the post
Politics & strategy

Jeremy Appel

27 Different Candidates are Vying to be Calgary’s Mayor. Here Are the Biggest Issues at Stake.

View the post
Newspapers always have a business section – why not a labour section? We’ve launched a free newsletter covering labour issues in Canada.
Get Canadian Labour News You Won't Find in Corporate Newspapers.
We’ve launched a free newsletter covering labour issues in Canada.
Get Canadian Labour News You Won't Find in Corporate Newspapers