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  • 2019 United Way Bake Sale

    2019 United Way Bake Sale

    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 — Be part of the solution! Edmonton Social Planning Council Where: #200, 10544 106 Street (Bassani Building) When: Wednesday, November 27, 2019 9:00am 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
  • Lunch and Learn - November 19, 2019

    Lunch and Learn - November 19, 2019

    November 19, 2019 12:00 Noon - 1:00 PM Program Room - Stanley Milner Library (Enterprise Square Branch) 10212 Jasper Avenue Topic: If Not You... Then Who? Becoming a Foster, Adoptive, and Respite Caregiver in Alberta Presenters:  JoAnn Hallikainen, Caregiver Recruitment Team Lead Government of Alberta, Ministry of Children's Services All children deserve a home that is nurturing and safe. A Child's Hope is 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
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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.

 

 

 

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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