November 26, 2013
Edmonton - A new report is calling on the Alberta government to take action on eliminating child poverty in the province.
According to the report, "From Words to Action: Alberta Can Afford a Real Poverty Reduction Strategy," one in ten children is living in poverty in Alberta.
The report suggests, in 2011, there were 84,000 - 29,800 under the age of six - living below the low-income measure.
"Premier Redford's 2012 election promise to eliminate child poverty by 2017 will not be achieved unless the words in the government's soon to be released poverty reduction strategy, will be backed up with real action and investment in programs that prevent, reduce and ultimately eliminate poverty," said Bill Moore-Kilgannon, executive director of Public Interest Alberta.
According to the numbers, employment does not guarantee a low-income family in Alberta will climb out of poverty. The report shows an all-time record 59 per cent of children in poverty had at least one parent working full time for the full year.
"The report shows that inequality is growing rapidly in Alberta so unless the government commits to targeted investments to support those who are not benefiting from our strong economy, their poverty reduction will not succeed," said John Kolkman, research coordinator with Edmonton Social Planning Council.
Public Interest Alberta, the Edmonton Social Planning Council and the Alberta College of Social Workers released the report.
The Edmonton Social Planning Council is making recommendations it believes would reduce poverty among working poor families, including: a provincial child tax benefit and increasing the minimum wage and a living wage policy for contracted services.
"The report shows that inequality is growing rapidly in Alberta so unless the government commits to targeted investments to support those who are not benefiting from our strong economy, their poverty reduction will not succeed," argues Kolkman.
Public Interest Alberta is proposing a $1 billion investment.
"In a province that collects $10.6 billion less in taxation than the next lowest taxed province, we outline how the government could raise from $1.2 - $2.0 billion by establishing a progressive tax and increase corporate taxes," said Lori Sigurdson, chairperson of Public Interest Alberta's Human Services and Poverty Task Force.
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