Alberta has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country and is considered one of the best places to live and work. I have recently come across a few articles that really caught my attention with regards to labour shortages, wages and taxes in the various provinces.

A number of provinces recently adjusted minimum wage rates. Alberta’s minimum wage workers will receive a 3.5% increase on September 1, bringing their hourly earnings up to $9.75 from $9.40. The average minimum wage in Canada is $10.08 per hour. With this increase Alberta becomes the second lowest with Saskatchewan the lowest at $9.50 per hour. Nunavut has the highest minimum wage at $11.00 per hour. The part that really shocked me is that after tax, Alberta has the second highest minimum wage in the country.

I then went on to research some representative wages in Alberta and how they compare to rest of the country. For example, a welder with 5-10 years’ experience in Fort McMurray makes between $30 and $50/hour, between $21 and $36/hour in Calgary and between $16 and $18/hour in Victoria.

For other wage comparisons check out:

On a similar note, we are often presented with gas pump prices that do not reflect local taxes. This one is a little more transparent since, as a consumer, one does not really care where the money goes for a tank of gas but where it comes from – ones own pocket book.

So what is the actual price of the gasoline without taxes?

You've no doubt seen the stickers on gas pumps that show how much of your gas dollar is spent on taxes. And while it's true that the various taxes on fuel do add up, they aren't the biggest culprits when you notice that pump prices have suddenly risen by five cents a litre for no apparent reason.

Let's look at the effect of taxes. First, there's the federal excise tax on gasoline. That's a flat 10 cents a litre — enough to raise about $4 billion a year for the federal treasury.

Add to that provincial flat taxes that range from a low of 6.2 cents a litre in Yukon to 16.5 cents a litre in Newfoundland and Labrador. Add five per cent GST (or 13 per cent HST in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick) and you complete the tax picture. Almost. Quebec also applies provincial sales tax. Three cities also impose a tax on gasoline — 1.5 cents a litre in Montreal, 1.2 cents a litre in Vancouver and 3.5 cents a litre in Victoria.

Add it all up, and you get a national tax average of about 32 cents a litre, according to April 2009 figures from Natural Resources Canada. A similar estimate comes from Calgarybased MJ Ervin & Associates, an independent consulting firm that publishes a widely watched weekly pump price survey.

So who has the highest and lowest gas prices before and after taxes? The highest prices before taxes goes to Whitehorse and Yellowknife at 110.6 and 112.9/litre respectively and the lowest prices before taxes are Peterborough and Kingston at 82.7 and 83.7/litre respectively.

After taxes the highest is Labrador City at 143.5/litre and the lowest prices can be found in Red Deer and Edmonton at 110.5 1nd 110.3/litre respectively

For a full comparison of pre- and post-tax gasoline rates go to Data.aspx

But besides road construction, the most crazy thing in Calgary is the price of parking. Calgary downtown parking rates are the highest in Canada and the second most expensive in North America, according to the global real estate firm Colliers International 12th Annual Parking Survey released early in October, 2012.

The survey said Calgary’s average median monthly parking rate of US$440.00 was second only to New York (US$562 Midtown and US$533.00 downtown) and higher than other large North American cities such as Boston (US$405.00) and San Francisco (US$375).

One of the main reasons for the high cost of parking is due to the fact that Calgary has one of the densest downtown cores in North America. Pretty much all of the Oil and gas business is conducted downtown. According to the report, the occupied area of our downtown office inventory has never been greater. In 2002 we had 27 million square feet of occupied office space downtown, today we have 38 million square feet of occupied space. This increased demand translates to the second highest parking rates in North America.

The report also states that we have a highly skilled and highly paid workforce who are willing to pay existing parking rates and we have employers that are paying for monthly parking as a recruiting tool.

As a resident Calgarian, it doesn’t seem like the rate of construction for new office space is slowing down with a notable uptick in construction on the beltline area.

For the complete Herald article refer to: parking+rates+highest+Canada+second+North+Ame rica/7330471/story.html

Love or hate it, Calgary is a fun and dynamic city to live in and I am proud to be a native Calgarian (more or less) and I cherish the vibrant and entrepreneurial spirit of this city.



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