Statement on Danielle Smith’s Affordability Measures
The Edmonton Social Planning Council is cautiously optimistic after hearing the announcement from Premier Danielle Smith’s televised address to the province on November 22, 2022 on a suite of affordability measures to help low-income individuals and families address the rising cost of living due to the effects of inflation.
We are particularly heartened to hear that several income support and benefit programs including AISH, PDD, the Alberta Seniors Benefit, and the Alberta Child and Family Benefit will be re-indexed for inflation, which was originally paused in 2019. While these measures are welcome news for many families living pay cheque to pay cheque, the prior freezing of these benefit payment rates has meant a lot of ground has been lost and it will take a lot of time to properly catch up.
Missing from this announcement is indexing of the minimum wage. The current minimum wage of $15 per hour has been frozen since 2018 and falls short of being a living wage, which has been calculated by the Edmonton Social Planning Council to be at $21.40 per hour in Edmonton. Throughout the province, the Alberta Living Wage Network has calculated the living wage in various Alberta municipalities show it can range from $17.50 in Medicine Hat and $32.75 in Canmore. Other cities are somewhere in between those two extremes. All of these living wage calculations are above the current minimum wage and this gap needs to be addressed.
We will continue to monitor these and other affordability measures to ensure it is positively impacting the lives of low-income Albertans.