Community Matters December 2023
Welcome to the Winter Edition of our quarterly publication, Community Matters.
Community Matters aims to inform the community about social issues that impact citizens and connect the dots between social issues, evidence, and policy. We aim to use this space to give local agencies, ESPC volunteer writers, and staff members a voice.
Each edition will spotlight a specific social issue and demonstrate the intersectional nature and impact on equality. Our goal is to use evidence as we continue to inform on the issues affecting individuals and families.
For our Winter 2023 issue, we are focusing on gaps in our social safety net. While there are a number of strengths in our social safety net such as important federal programs for children and seniors that have been helpful in reducing the levels of poverty among those groups – there are also a number of disparities that continue to have too many people living below the poverty line. This includes insufficient income support programs for persons with disabilities, single working-age adults in poverty, among others.
In this issue, you will find articles touching upon a number of these disparities and offer ways in which gaps in our social safety net can be filled. This includes critiques and evaluations of existing programs, such as provincial income support programs in Alberta, the Canada Pension Plan, and ways in which we can help low-income folks file tax returns so they automatically receive tax credits and rebates they qualify for. We also explore other programs yet to be implemented or fully realized, such as a social solidarity economy, a basic income program, and hopes and prospects for the proposed Canada Disability Benefit, which is expected to be up and running sometime in 2024.
For too long, cracks in our social safety net have permitted too many people to fall through them and we hope the conversations that come from this issue can help be a catalyst for meaningful social change.
Executive Director, Edmonton Social Planning Council