– unless you’re from Alberta. A new study shows Albertans work harder than Canadians in the rest of the country.
The Fraser Institute study by economic analyst Philip Cross shows Albertans work longer weeks than other Canadians and are frequently encouraged to delay their retirements.
Nearly 30% of Albertans work “exceptionally long” weeks of 50 hours or more, a trend being led by workers age 55 and older. More than a third of Albertans between 65 and 69 — and one in 10 aged 70 and older — have jobs, the study finds.
“Those are startling statistics, and much higher than we’re seeing in the rest of the country,” Cross said.
His report also found significant labour shortages in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
“Unequivocally, there are shortages in Alberta and Saskatchewan, and that’s one thing I’ll criticize the economics profession about. They look too much to the national numbers. They say if it’s not a national shortage, it’s not a shortage,” he said.
The study shows that employers across Canada are looking for ways to stretch their existing labour forces, often extending employee careers and their hours of work to reduce the costs of finding and training new employees.
Overtime rates and wages have increased in Western Canada and Newfoundland to address these labour shortages, and more than one in 10 people age 70 and older in Alberta and Saskatchewan had jobs.
“If you’re looking for labour supply in today’s economy, the number one source is older workers,” Cross said. “That’s the fastest-growing segment of our population and (employers) have tapped right into that.”