15 March 2012

The Alberta Advantage—for men only?

It seems the famous Alberta Advantage doesn't apply to women. Alberta lags all other provinces except Newfoundland and Labrador in women's wage parity with men. According to a report issued by the Parkland Institute and the Alberta College of Social Workers, in Canada as a whole women's wages for full-year, full-time employment in 2009 were 78.4 per cent of men's. In Quebec—the parity leader—they were 85 per cent. In Alberta they were only 68.1 per cent.

Even more disappointing is that progress toward equality is also slower than in other provinces. In 1976, Alberta's wage gap was 62 per cent, on a par with the Canadian average. While other provinces have seen double-digit gains, Alberta has only closed the gap by six per cent.

Women make up the great majority of Alberta's low-wage workers. Almost half of working women earn less than $25,000 while only 30 per cent of men do. On the other hand, while almost 40 per cent of men earn over $60,000 per year, only 16 per cent of women are so blessed.

The most recent boom in Alberta was principally a boom for men while both men and women shared the ensuing bust. Median incomes for men increased 32 per cent from 2005 to 2008 but only 18 per cent for women, while in 2009 the median income for both fell 7 to 8 per cent. In the economic upswing of 2010, unemployment decreased for men but increased for women.

Alberta's women are disadvantaged in part at least because of the province's conservative nature. Alberta is the only jurisdiction in Canada without a minister or advisory council responsible for the status of women. It is not surprising, therefore, that men in Alberta are much more likely than men in other provinces to disproportionately share the fruits of economic wealth.


  1. I'm not sure how this other statistic compares to the rest of Canada, or if the question was ever asked in other provinces, but I was startled to read that -

    "One in ten men say it’s OK to hit a woman if she makes him angry: Alberta survey" (March 13, 2012)

    Further, in 2009: Alberta [domestic] abuse rates highest

    Thanks for posting this wage disparity study.

  2. Can you please share the source of the studay?

  3. Just click on "Parkland Institute" in the second line.

    Happy reading.