Workin' hard for the money 

The Owl examined median family income earlier this week and showed that Albertans earn considerably more than households elsewhere in Canada. But just how many hours are spent each week at work to bring home those big paycheques?

In July, the average employee in Alberta worked approximately 32.2 hours, including overtime, a week, which is 5.9 per cent longer than the national average. According to Statistics Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador came in a close second at 32 hours, while workers in British Columbia had the shortest week, clocking 29.6 hours.

Perhaps even more interesting is how the workweek has changed over the last ten years. Albertans now work an extra hour and 20 minutes—or 4.2 per cent longer—than they did in July, 2003. That’s the second highest rate of increase among the provinces. Yet, across the country, the average employee worked about 30 minutes less per week over the same 10-year period.

The fact that Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador have the longest workweek is a reflection of the strong economies and the amount of overtime required. However, employees in New Brunswick rank third for working long hours even though the province has a high unemployment rate of 10.7 per cent. Employers may be requesting more overtime to avoid hiring more workers.

While logging a lot of hours at the office may be a badge of honour to some Albertans, it comes with distinct drawbacks. Workplace stress and illness may also be rising. The most productive employees are those who can balance work and life most appropriately—and for some that might mean working less. 


One conversation with the man the bedding industry has dubbed the “Wizard of Ahhs” is all it takes to be convinced that with his mattress-design expertise he can and will solve the greatest sleep discomfort.

“Mattress making is like cooking to taste: We have the idea and we make the first rendition and we keep remaking and tweaking it until it's perfect,” Earl S. Kluft, owner of the luxury bedding brand E.S. Kluft & Co., told

Priced at $33,000, Kluft’s Palais Royale bed, sold exclusively at Bloomingdale’s, is his hand-tailored take on the 1940s “Rolls Royce” of mattresses -- the “Aireloom.”

Bloomingdale’s wanted to develop an “ultra-premium bed” and tapped Kluft to design “a line that would ...



Terri Stephens 





Throughout 2013, Calgary has led Canada’s upper-end real estate market in nearly every category.

Calgary ended the summer with a strong finish and experts predict sales momentum to continue into fall, as resale and rental inventory remains tight. Strong employment and migration numbers reflecting the city’s continued economic health will drive demand- it is estimated that for every 300 square feet of new office space created, an additional person is added to downtown Calgary.

The high number of executive level jobs created will continue to fuel demand for top-tier real estate specifically, as newcomers take advantage of the city’s relatively affordable real estate market to “buy up”.

In spite of the floods experienced by the city this summer, there is not...


According to Statistics Canada, about one-quarter of Canadians are spending too much on housing costs. “Too much” is defined by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) as 30% or more of household income. Are you house rich and cash poor?

First off, it’s important to understand what CMHC’s “household income” refers to in order to measure if you are over or under the suggested 30% threshold. They define household income as pre-tax household income, which is a questionable metric due to our tax code.

We have a graduated tax system in Canada where every taxpayer files their own tax return, so there can be a big difference in after-tax income between two households with identical household incomes. A household where two people are earning $50,000 each in...


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