Alberta’s Minister of Affordability has championed a new program that would provide cash to families, seniors and those on social benefits but exclude low-income single workers.
Prime Minister Daniel Smith announced in a televised address on Tuesday that families earning up to $180,000 a year will be given $600 for each dependent child over the age of six months. This benefit also applies to seniors and those receiving income assistance, income security for severely disabled people (AISH), and people with developmental disabilities (PDD).
An adult working 40 hours a week at the minimum wage rate of $15 an hour in Alberta earns about $31,200 a year. However, that person is not eligible for the $600 government payment unless they are elderly or have children.
Alberta’s Minister of Affordability and Public Works, Matt Jones, said Wednesday: “Additional support must be directed where it’s needed most.
“Elderly and disabled Albertans, as well as families with many dependents, appear to deserve additional targeted assistance.
Jones said the $180,000 figure is based on thresholds used for childcare assistance. He said childless Albertans should benefit from other affordable measures, such as the state’s fuel tax suspension and rebates on electricity bills during the winter.
Affordability measures are set to begin in January, with details to be announced early next month. will be included in the reform bill.
Jones announced at a press conference that he has announced a $10 million funding over two years to the Alberta Food Bank. The state will also provide an additional $10 million in matching funds over the same period to food banks, charities, nonprofits, and civil society organizations.
Ariana Scott, president of the Alberta Food Bank, said the funding is the first money the food bank has received from the state government, aside from $6 million in COVID-19 aid.
“This is the first time,” she said. “So this is very important to us.”
Smith faces criticism that the new affordable measures are an effort to win votes for the upcoming state elections in May 2023.
Alberta’s NDP leader Rachel Notley called the plan a “pre-election gift card” and was created without much thought.
She said the cash benefit plan would exclude many Alberta needing help, such as single workers without children and childless couples who work multiple minimum wage jobs and pool their family income. I said that I am
Notley said the measure “looks like the back of a napkin of an insane plan put together by the Prime Minister.
In 2019, former Prime Minister Jason Kenny and his government removed the cost of living increase from AISH, income support and other social benefits as a cost-cutting measure.
Since then, high inflation has greatly eroded what people can afford, leading many to turn to food banks for help.
Smith has promised to bring back the index system from January, but Notley says benefit recipients are still $3,000 short of what they would have been if the government had left payments three years ago. It is said that
In a nine-minute speech Tuesday night, Smith discussed rebates to help those facing high electricity bills and measures to prevent price spikes during the winter.
She wants to eliminate state fuel taxes for at least six months to lower the price of gasoline. She reiterated former Prime Minister Jason Kenny’s plan to link the tax rate to inflation from the 2022 tax season.
In addition to helping food banks, Smith wants to fund transit passes for low-income people.