In The News
Learn More About ESPC In The News, News Releases, And General News About The Organization.
Slider
  • Bake Sale in Support of the United Way

    Bake Sale in Support of the United Way

    Bake Sale Edmonton Social Planning Council #200, 10544 106 Street (Bassani Building) Wednesday, November 27, 2019 9:00am - 4:00 pm Pricing is by donation. Enjoy some baked goods and learn more about our work! 100% of the proceeds go directly to the United Way, which is working with partners in the community to help end poverty in Edmonton. Poverty is #Unignorable Read More
  • Lunch and Learn - December 10, 2019

    Lunch and Learn - December 10, 2019

    December 10, 2019 12:00 Noon - 1:30 PM Program Room - Stanley Milner Library (Enterprise Square Branch) 10212 Jasper Avenue Topic: Prevent It! Taking Action to Stop Child Sexual Abuse Please note: Registration is required for this event. Please CLICK HERE to register. About this presentation: The Edmonton Social Planning Council's Lunch & Learn Series is a series of engaging lunch-time talks about social Read More
  • 2019 Seasonal Celebration

    2019 Seasonal Celebration

    Our Board of Directors and Staff wish to extend an invitation to you to join us in celebrating the holidays at our office! Light snacks and refreshments will be served. When: December 5th, 4:00 to 6:00 pm Where: Suite #200, 10544 106 Street (Bassani Building) Read More
  • Opinion: Budget is a setback for lower-income Albertans

    Opinion: Budget is a setback for lower-income Albertans

    Susan Morrissey, Executive Director of the Edmonton Social Planning Council provided the recent Op-Ed in the Edmonton Journal. Read the full version here: https://edmontonjournal.com/opinion/columnists/opinion-budget-is-a-setback-for-lower-income-albertans Download the Fact Sheet here: 2019 Alberta Budget fACTsheet Excerpt from the Edmonton Journal: With the UCP tabling their first budget, there is a lot of talk of what this means. Depending on who you ask, this Read More
  • 2019 Alberta Provincial Budget Fact Sheet

    2019 Alberta Provincial Budget Fact Sheet

    Download: 2019 Alberta Budget fACTsheet Introduction The 2019 budget, which runs until March 31, 2020, is titled A Plan for Jobs and the Economy. The main priorities it identifies is creating jobs and reducing the deficit. We are now almost 7 months into the 2019-20 budget year, so many of the big changes announced will not take effect until next spring’s Read More
  • Public Engagement on Affordable Housing Report

    Public Engagement on Affordable Housing Report

    Access to stable and quality housing can produce positive outcomes to community health and education, and ultimately improve neighbourhood conditions and perceptions. Families that are in unstable housing are more likely to face intergenerational poverty. Living in unsafe neighbourhoods could have detrimental effects on physical and mental health. Despite these benefits, there is still formidable public opposition to providing quality Read More
  • A Profile of Poverty in Edmonton - May 2019 Update

    A Profile of Poverty in Edmonton - May 2019 Update

    Read the full report (click on the link):A Profile of Poverty in Edmonton - May 2019 Update Click to download: 2016 Federal Census Neighbourhood Summary Click to download: Map: Prevalence of Low Income After-Tax (All Ages) Click to download: Map: Prevalence of Low Income After-Tax (0 to 17) INTRODUCTION Poverty affects people from all walks of life – young, old, employed, unemployed, those Read More
  • 2019 Vital Topics - Indigenous Women in Alberta

    2019 Vital Topics - Indigenous Women in Alberta

    Edmonton Vital Signs is an annual check-up conducted by Edmonton Community Foundation, in partnership with Edmonton Social Planning Council, to measure how the community is doing. This year we will also be focusing on individual issues, VITAL TOPICS, that are timely and important to Edmonton.  This edition focuses on Indigenous Women in Alberta.   Download: Vital Topic - Indigenous Women in Read More
  • 2018 Vital Topics - The Arts

    2018 Vital Topics - The Arts

    Edmonton Vital Signs is an annual check-up conducted by Edmonton Community Foundation, in partnership with Edmonton Social Planning Council, to measure how the community is doing. This year we will also be focusing on individual issues, VITAL TOPICS, that are timely and important to Edmonton.  This edition focuses on The Arts. ARTS include a wide variety of creative disciplines including: Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9

Susan Morrissey, Executive Director of the Edmonton Social Planning Council provided the recent Op-Ed in the Edmonton Journal.

Read the full version here: https://edmontonjournal.com/opinion/columnists/opinion-budget-is-a-setback-for-lower-income-albertans

Download the Fact Sheet here: 2019 Alberta Budget fACTsheet

Excerpt from the Edmonton Journal:

With the UCP tabling their first budget, there is a lot of talk of what this means. Depending on who you ask, this budget is either an attempt to get Alberta’s fiscal house in order or a ruthless act of austerity.

The Edmonton Social Planning Council took a deep dive and produced a fact sheet to inform the public on what this latest budget means for social services and what some of the most vulnerable Albertans living in poverty can expect from our provincial government.

First, the good news. It is heartening to see the Government of Alberta continue to support investments in affordable public transportation with $9.5 million per year in funding for a low-income transit pass. In 2018, this pass was purchased by over 100,000 Albertans in Edmonton and Calgary, many of whom reported better access to education, jobs, and other opportunities. Staying the course will improve the quality of life for low-income Albertans and enable their further economic and social participation.

For school-age children, a 20-per-cent funding increase to the existing school nutrition program is welcome. Research has shown that students enrolled in schools with a universal breakfast program had fewer discipline problems, better attendance, and improved psychosocial well-being. Investing in our children’s welfare is simply the right thing to do and strengthens our communities.

Also commendable is the additional funding going toward a mental health and addiction strategy, an opioid response, palliative care, and a new sexual assault hotline. This shows a commitment to support the most vulnerable and we applaud that.

Nevertheless, there are a number of other areas in the budget that are deeply concerning and could threaten to set people back, especially after all the progress that has been made in alleviating poverty over the past few years.

The Alberta Child Benefit and the Alberta Family Employment Tax Credit, two programs designed to support lower- and middle-income working families, have shown themselves to be important tools for poverty reduction. However, they will now be rolled into a single program, the Alberta Child and Family Benefit, starting in July 2020.

While benefits for the lowest-income families will increase by 15 per cent, the benefit will be phased out more quickly as incomes rise. As a result, $40 million less will be delivered to Alberta families. While it’s encouraging to see the lowest incomes receive more supports, it still leaves out many other working families in need and struggling to make ends meet.

We are alarmed to see a 24-per-cent reduction in the Rental Assistance Program. These programs help households find affordable rental accommodations by providing rent subsidies in eligible rental projects. According to the 2016 census, more than 164,000 households in Alberta are living in unsafe, crowded, and unaffordable housing. Approximately 6,000 households in Edmonton alone are currently on the Capital Region Housing rent-subsidy program wait list, many of whom have been waiting for years.

Finally, the de-indexing of Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH), the Alberta Seniors Benefit, Income Support, and Special Needs Assistance programs from the consumer price index (CPI) is perhaps cause for the greatest concern.

While current levels for these income assistance programs remain the same, the fact that they will not increase with the rising cost of living places many of our most vulnerable citizens with the burden of having to choose between purchasing nutritious food or heating their homes.

Despite additional investments in some key areas, the overall impact of the budget puts many low- and modest-income Albertans at greater risk. The four-year strategy outlined in the budget fails to account for either inflation or population growth.

This means that Albertans will face real and growing cuts to health, education, and social programs. As was pointed out in their fiscal plan, households and businesses would pay at least $13.4 billion more in taxes if Alberta had the same tax system as any other province. There is ample room to address this revenue shortfall without sacrificing the vital services on which Albertans rely.

We are hopeful that finding common ground and working towards a prosperous future for all will result in the desired outcomes that benefit all Albertans.

Susan Morrissey is executive director of the Edmonton Social Planning Council.

 

 

 

Radio Active with Adrienne Pan

Interview with Sandra Ngo, Edmonton Social Planning Council.

Click here to listen to the interview

 

 By Catherine GriwkowskyStarMetro Edmonton

Thu., May 17, 2018

Original Article - click here

EDMONTON—Pipeline inspector and project manager turned stay-at-home dad Chad Miller is pinning his family’s future on the approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline as he searches for work to pay off debt.

“I’ve got more qualifications than I know what to do with and I can’t even get a damn job to save my soul,” Miller said.

Miller is not alone in his struggle to support his family and rejoin the workforce full time after a downturn in the Alberta oil economy cost him work.

A recent Statistics Canada study shows nationally the number of couples who were working part-year or part-time in 2015 was up to 18 per cent from 14 per cent in 2005.

Part-time workers increased

Meanwhile the proportion of families with one parent working for the full year, full-time with one partner working part time dropped to 30 per cent in 2015 from 34 per cent in 2005. The trend was driven by a downturn in the manufacturing sectors in central Canada and the downturn in oil, Bernard said.

The study’s author Andre Bernard, with Statistics Canada, said parental leave policies, child care, differences in labour market conditions and earnings accounted for regional differences.

“If both parents are reporting not working, or working part-time, these are families that would be more vulnerable to low income,” Bernard said.

Only 19 per cent of families where the youngest child was under six years old in Alberta had both parents working full-year, full-time in 2015, similar to the 20.4 per cent in 2005.

For families with children aged 6 to 17, the number of two-income earner families in Alberta dropped to 31.7 in 2015 from 36.9 per cent in 2005.

Single-income earners

The average median income in full-time, single-earner families in the province was $94,000 annually, the highest in Canada. That is compared to the median income of $108,600 in Prince Edward Island where both parents worked a full year, full-time. With single-earner incomes near that of families with two parents working, some Alberta families may opt to have only one parent work, said researcher John Kolkman.

Kolkman, research associate with the Edmonton Social Planning Council, said the census data shows two very different points in Alberta’s economies. In 2005, Alberta was experiencing a boom while in 2015 the province was in recession, which may account for the differences.

“Where one parent works in a pretty highly-paid position, therefore it is more feasible for the other parent not to be working rather than working full-time, so that probably is a factor,” Kolkman said.

Bernard said in Alberta specifically, men are the large majority of single-income earners in families.

Boom and bust

And it is those men, Bernard said, that likely make up the bulk of the increase in parttime, part-year workers due to a downturn in the manufacturing sector in central Canada and the oil industry in Alberta.

In Miller’s 20 years of working in the oilfield sector, taking jobs from Fort St. John, B.C., to Cuba, Miller had seen a few recessions. After the 2008 recession, Miller ensured he had a year’s worth of income saved up.

It wasn’t enough.

As a project manager, Miller could make up to $1,000 a day and worked 338 days in 2014. Last year, he worked 90 days for far less, sometimes $500 per day.

Miller said he had to give back his truck. He’s missing bill payments.

Kolkman said in the downturn there weren’t just layoffs, but reductions in hours as well. These reductions in the oil industry had spillover effects in other areas of the economy.

“People cut back on eating out for example,” Kolkman said. “If you have less disposable income, that affects the hospitality industry. Certainly if you look at rural Alberta, and even in the urban centres, the energy industry supports a lot of these smaller towns in terms of eating and drinking establishments, in terms of hotels and motels.”

Male single earners

Bernard said men account for the majority of single-earners in households.

When times were good, Miller built his wife a salon in the family’s basement so she could give haircuts to clients for extra spending money, but he was the main earner.

Then work for the self-employed contractor dried up, and Miller’s wife had to pick up more work. She is now a full-time instructor in Red Deer, teaching at a hair academy.

His wife’s income puts food on the table, but doesn’t cover the bills, Miller said. Worries over money and finding work has put a strain on his relationship.

Hope for recovery

As he waits for work, he looks after his kids, a 14-year-old daughter, 9-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter.

“My wife, she tells me, we’re never going to have another kid because every time we have another kid, a recession comes,” Miller said.

During the recession, Miller felt isolated and depressed because he felt like no one wanted to hear the negativity of what he was going through. He stopped answering the phone because the only calls he got were from bill collectors.

After founding the Oilfield Dads Facebook group, Miller has found hope and camaraderie.

He sees optimism when his fellow oilfield dads find work, and on days when he doesn’t see a point in getting out of bed, the group has shown him he’s not alone.

These days, he tells his wife things are getting better — after all, she has a full-time job, they are close to paying off the family’s Jeep and soon they will be able to refinance their mortgage.

“We’ve got to do what we’ve got to do to keep going,” Miller said, “and that’s the reality of most Albertans now.”

Catherine Griwkowsky is an Edmonton-based reporter. To contact her call 780-702-0592 extension 333, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or follow her on Twitter @CGriwkowsky.

  • Donations

    Your donation helps us do our work. It keeps our social research current and comprehensive. It allows us to take on bigger projects and make a greater impact in the community. It strengthens our voice—your voice, and the voices of those who lack the opportunity to speak for themselves. All donations are tax deductible, a tax reciept will be issued upon receipt of your donation. (Charitable Tax # 10729 31 95 RP 001)

    Donate Now
  • Membership

    The strength of our voice is dependent upon the support of people and organizations concerned about social issues—people like you. By getting involved with the Edmonton Social Planning Council, you add your voice to our message of positive social development and policy change.

    Become a Member
  • Volunteer

    To inquire directly about volunteer opportunities with the Edmonton Social Planning Council, please contact johnk@edmontonsocialplanning.ca or call 780-423-2031 ext. 356. Thank you for your interest in the Edmonton Social Planning Council

    Volunteer!
  • Become a Board Member

    If you are passionate about equitable social policy and making a difference in your community, consider supporting the Edmonton Social Planning Council by joining our team as a volunteer member of our Board of Directors.

    Read More

Video Feature

Global News - 1 in 6 Alberta children lives below poverty line

Read more about the Edmonton Social Planning Council report on child poverty in Alberta.

Alberta Child Poverty Report - 2018 Click to Download