I live and work in Edmonon, and I'm among the many who are not seeing any of the so-called benefits to this boom. Wages have simply not gone up to meet the rise in the cost of living at all. Where you see the big bucks is up north in the oil camps and the surrounding towns, but their costs of housing and living expenses are even more ludicrous, so alot of that 'extra' money is chewed up surviving, just like here.
Rents all over the province - not just the cities - are going up because people are flocking here under the misunderstanding that high paying jobs are ripe for the picking. Then they get here and find that most of their time and resources are used up just trying to find a place to live... which is pretty much a necessity before one can provide an address on a job application.... In fact, it was getting so ridiculous that as stated in the article in the OP, a law has just been passed so that no landlords may increase their rents more than once per year. Folks were hoping to see a cap or some other form of rent control brought in, but this was the best we got on that front.
. .. and yes, there are lots of jobs here... but at the same rate of pay they always were at, mostly. So what's happening is people are now having to use more of their disposable income (if they have any) to cover housing costs, or dip into grocery or other necessities, or share accomodations to pay for a roof over their heads.
Asking for a raise? Well maybe some employers will accomodate such a request, but most of them still have quite a large pool of surprised and hungry new Albertans to choose from for their staffing needs.
As for people like me who owned property before the boom, we are indeed looking at huge returns on our investment if we sell now. BUT... and this is a big but - even with my house almost tripling in value over the last five years, I still couldn't afford anything else if I sold now.
No matter how I look at it, it's still more feasible for me to stay put rather than try to rent something at almost double the cost of my current mortgage payment, or saddle myself with a new mortgage I might never be able to pay off in my lifetime.
To anyone wishing to move here, I encourage lots of research into specific jobs and accomodation arrangements first.
As an aside, I've also become aware of another hidden cost to folks moving here from other provinces. When it's time to renew your vehicle registration, Alberta apparently has extremely stringent standards to meet on out of province safety inspections. Rusting out old rattle traps that originated here are still on the road, whereas vehicles from elsewhere are being denied safety approvals for seemingly insignificant issues. This can play out into more unexpected large costs to either make the necessary upgrades/repairs to your vehicle or purchase another one.
Alberta seems to be going through some serious growing pains right now, so if there's a specific opportunity for someone here, by all means do your homework before moving, and that should help you prepare a bit for some of the unexpected things that can crop up.
Alberta is my home, but if my kids weren't already so firmly established in their schools etc., I'd be seriously considering moving elsewhere. If I'm facing these kind of costs anyway, I'd rather be doing it on Vancouver Island.