June 17, 2013
"STEP was a cost effective partnership between the Province and community organizations providing needed community programs to children and families across Alberta, and to post-secondary students looking for valuable on the job training for their future careers. In exchange for a $7.00 per hour provincial contribution typically for 12 weeks, community organizations would top up salaries and often extend the number of weeks of employment at their own expense," ESPC Executive Director Susan Morrissey noted.
A survey released today by the Inter-City Forum on Social Policy (ICFSP) and Edmonton Social Planning Council (ESPC) found significant impacts on children and families and post-secondary students due to the elimination of the Summer Temporary Employment Program (STEP) in the 2013 provincial budget. The ICFSP represents 19 cities across Alberta.
"Municipalities have long valued STEP because - for a modest investment by both the municipalities and province - tens of thousands of children and families were able to participate in meaningful activities and programs when school is out," said Councillor Ben Henderson, who chairs ICFSP.
ICFSP partnered with ESPC to conduct an online survey in late March and early April 2013. A total of 234 surveys were completed by 27 municipal governments and 207 not for profit organizations throughout Alberta. Major impacts due to the loss of STEP include:
- On average per year, survey respondents provided employment for 508 students who in turn provided services to 89,088 Albertans many of whom were children and from low income groups;
- 49% of respondents will hire fewer students and 36% will not hire students at all in 2013;
- 56% of respondents will not be able to maintain programs and services, 30% planned to maintain services and the balance are were unsure;
- 58% of survey respondents said fewer people would be able to access their programs, and 44% said vulnerable low income children and families would not be able to access free summer programming.
"The Social Policy Framework goal of enabling collaboration and partnership was achieved by STEP. Our survey demonstrates the consequences of its elimination. We are urging the Government of Alberta to address this lost opportunity. STEP has been a partnership between government, municipalities and not-for-profits and we hope to work together to come up with a viable solution," Councillor Henderson concluded.
For more information:
Susan Morrissey, ESPC Executive Director
To view the entire survey results CLICK Here