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  • 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
  • 2018 Vital Topics - Senior Women in Edmonton

    2018 Vital Topics - Senior Women in Edmonton

    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. Watch for these in each issue of Legacy in Action, and in the full issue Read More
  • Edmonton Vital Signs 2018

    Edmonton Vital Signs 2018

    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 - specifically Women, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Edmonton, Visible Minority Women, and Senior Women. Each of these topics appear in Read More
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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 budget covering the 2020-21 fiscal year which starts on April 1, 2020.

The government fiscal plan will see a 2.8 per cent reduction in spending over the next four years or $1.3 billion lower than 2018-19 levels. Since Alberta’s inflation and population growth is going up about 3.5 per cent per year, in real per capita terms this represents a spending reduction of 17 per cent.

To address this spending reduction, the size of the public service is expected to shrink by 7.7 per cent. The reductions will be achieved largely through attrition, although some layoffs will also occur.

Revenue Measures 

Revenue is forecast to remain flat at $50 billion in 2019-20 and $50.1 billion in 2020-21 and will increase to $57.5 billion in 2022-23. A modest but realistic oil price outlook, along with market access issues, impede revenue growth over the next two years.
In addition, the carbon levy from the previous NDP government was repealed as of May 30, 2019. The corporate tax rate will decrease from 12 per cent to eight per cent over a period of two and a half years. Conversely, personal income taxes will be going up due to exemptions and tax brackets no longer being indexed for inflation.

Child Benefits

The Alberta Child Benefit and the Alberta Family Employment Tax Credit, two programs designed to support lower- and middle-income working families will be replaced with a new Alberta Child and Family Benefit program starting in July 2020. 
While the base benefit for the lowest income families is being increased by 15 per cent, the benefit will be phased out more quickly as income rises so fewer families will receive the benefit. That’s why the new single benefit will deliver about $40 million less to Alberta families than the two benefits delivered by the previous government.

Affordable Housing and Homelessness

Funding for affordable housing and homelessness is being maintained for the balance of the 2019-20 fiscal year. Starting next year there will be a 24 per cent reduction to the Rental Assistance Program and a 3.5 per cent reduction in operating budgets for housing management bodies like Capital Region Housing. Partnerships will be pursued with housing management bodies and private sector to reduce the public costs of affordable housing. Eight million dollars is also being made available to the Hope Mission to build a new emergency shelter in Edmonton.

Childcare and Child Intervention

Funding for early intervention programs will be reduced to $91 million in the 2020-21 compared to $104 million this year.  Child intervention funding is being kept at the same level as this year’s funding for the following three years without adjustments for caseload growth or inflation.
 
The Early Learning and Child Care centres (aka $25 per day child care) pilot project will continue until the end of their three-year terms and thereafter reviewed with no assurance that they will be continued or expanded. 

Employment and Income Support

Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH), the Alberta Seniors Benefit, Income Support, and Special Needs Assistance programs are being kept at their current levels, however they are being de-indexed from the Consumer Price Index (CPI). This means they will not be kept up with the rising cost of living.
 
A full program review will be undertaken to address the rapid growth of costs for AISH, Persons with Developmental Disabilities, and Family Support for Children with Disabilities. A $193 million reduction in funding for Employment and Income Support (social assistance) is expected between now and fiscal year 2022-23 due to expected reductions in caseloads due to an improving economy.
 
The Summer Temporary Employment Program (STEP), which provides funding to employers to hire high school or post-secondary students for summer jobs, will be eliminated after the 2019 program year. This will have a detrimental impact on students seeking to build their job-related experiences and skillsets when pursuing careers in their field of study.

Addiction and Mental Health

Over the next four years, an additional $100 million will go towards a mental health and addiction strategy, $40 million for an opioid response, $20 million for palliative care, and $6 million for a new sexual assault hotline.

Seniors Drug Coverage

Coverage for non-senior dependents including spouses under seniors’ prescription drug coverage is being ended. Income testing may be introduced for seniors’ drug coverage. 
Community Supports and Family Safety (CSFC)
 
There is $125 million budgeted for CSFC for fiscal year 2019-20 which will increase to $134 million in the next three years. The Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) budget has been maintained at the same level during this time.

K-12 Education

School nutrition programs will see a 20 per cent increase after earlier facing the threat of elimination. However, the school fee reduction program is instead being eliminated.

An estimated additional 60,000 children are expected to enter the K-12 education system during the next four years.  However, education funding is being kept at the same $8.2 billion level. Neither inflation nor enrolment growth is being funded.

Affordable Transportation

The low income transit support pilot program, first introduced in 2017 in Edmonton and Calgary, will be extended to support Albertans in need of public transportation at $9.5 million per year. This enables economic participation and improves the quality of life for low-income Albertans.
 
The government fiscal plan will see a 2.8 per cent reduction in spending over the next four years or $1.3 billion lower than 2018-19 levels. Since Alberta’s inflation and population growth is going up about 3.5 per cent per year, in real per capita terms this represents a spending reduction of 17 per cent.
 
 
The Edmonton Social Planning Council is an independent, non-profit, charitable organization focused on social research.
 
This fACT Sheet, prepared by the Edmonton Social Planning Council, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

 
Edmonton Social Planning Council
#200, 10544 - 106 Street, Edmonton, Alberta, T5K 1C5
www.edmontonsocialplanning.ca
@edmontonspc

 

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 a program designed to recruit foster and adoptive parents to provide temporary and permanent homes for children and youth in the care of the government. A Child's Hope believes that great families come in all shapes and sizes that when we come together, we give hope to the next generation of doctors, mechanics, lawyers, hairstylists, and parents.

 

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 who are new to Canada and those whose ancestors have lived here for hundreds of years. The structure of the economy traps people in bad situations and forces some into poverty by constraining choices and limiting options (Ghatak, 2015). Limited social housing, eroding benefits, and lack of access to stable, good-paying jobs, has created an economy that takes away many people’s choices and leads to poverty. People are increasingly forced into unstable jobs that don’t pay enough to satisfy needs, and some can’t find jobs at all. The cost of living has also gone up, which forces many people to focus on making ends meet and living day-to-day, rather than planning for the future or their children’s future. Because people in poverty lack the means to participate in their communities, they are often socially isolated (Mood & Jonsson, 2016; Stewart et al., 2009). The stress experienced from poverty can lead to negative impacts on mental and emotional health, the ability to make decisions, and even family and neighbourhood cohesion (Carvalho, Meier, & Wang, 2016).

Edmontonians believe in helping and protecting one another, so we must work together to address poverty. For this reason, the Edmonton Social Planning Council has produced this Profile on Poverty – 2019 Update in partnership with EndPovertyEdmonton. EndPovertyEdmonton is a community initiative working towards prosperity for all through advancing reconciliation, the elimination of racism, livable incomes, affordable housing, accessible and affordable transit, affordable and quality child care, and access to mental health services and addiction supports (EndPovertyEdmonton, 2019). It uses a collaborative model, whereby governments, businesses, non-profits, and many other forms of organizations can come together to end poverty in Edmonton in a generation (30 years).

We need to break the constraints of our current economy. Every Edmontonian deserves to have the freedom to pursue opportunities.

It is our responsibility to ensure all people in our city have a decent standard of living.

MEASURING POVERTY

Before solutions to poverty can be considered, the prevalence of low income must be understood. One of the challenges of measuring poverty and low income is the variety of ways Statistics Canada collects data (Table 1). Their primary data source is the federal Census, which is conducted every five years through a national, mandatory, survey. The last Census was conducted in 2016 and uses income data from 2015. Due to its scope, it contains the greatest level of detail.

In contrast, the T1 Family File (T1FF) is collected every year from tax-filers. Some information available in the Census is not collected through tax-filer data, although the T1FF includes First Nations reserves and collective dwellings (Pinard & Pagé, 2018). As a result, low income estimates tend to be higher when using the T1FF as compared to the Census.

Another source of data is the Canadian Income Survey (CIS), a yearly cross-sectional survey that provides a portrait of income and income sources for Canadians.

Due to differences between data sets, the data source for particular measures in this report have been chosen based on the aspect of poverty being explored. All data is taken at the Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) level, unless otherwise indicated. The Edmonton CMA includes the City of Edmonton, the City of St. Albert, Parkland County, Strathcona County, Sturgeon County, Leduc County, and all incorporated urban centres and First Nations located within the boundaries of those counties.

Read the full report (click on the link): A Profile of Poverty in Edmonton - May 2019 Update

One Page Infographic: Edmonton Poverty Profile Graphic

    

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 affordable and safe housing to vulnerable populations, as these projects are seen as posing a risk to the dynamic and safety of the neighbourhood. Reasons for this vary and include fear, racism, safety, or concerns around decreased property values.

To alleviate these concerns, a robust public engagement strategy with communities is necessary. In order to explore the effects of current public engagement practices on the acceptance of affordable housing in Edmonton, the Edmonton Social Planning Council was tasked with conducting focus groups across the city with Community League members. This report details the findings and offers recommendations to Community League members, City administration, and affordable housing developers.

To increase acceptance of affordable housing and to improve the public engagement process, the report's recommendations include:

  • Create a campaign on what affordable housing is, using a human rights-based approach to housing and use unconventional messengers, such as religious leaders or conservative politicians, to speak to affordable housing issues.
  • Break down silos between members of the public, developers, and City administration. Ongoing dialogue where engagement begins early to allow for context-specific concerns to be fully explored with each engagement.
  • Restructure public engagement to have clear expectations where all stakeholders outline their desired outcomes of engagement and how it will be conducted.
  • Create a guiding set of principles to anchor public engagement processes in a human-rights based approach to housing.
  • Increase support for community building and integration between new housing tenants and pre-existing members of the community.
  • Employ non-traditional engagement formats, as preferences vary widely accordingly to the individual. Examples include walking tours of successful affordable housing developments, neighbourhood walkthroughs given to developers to allow for innovative ways of hearing community feedback.
     

Click here to download the report: Public Engagement on Affordable Housing Report

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 Alberta (PDF)

   

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