Media releases | March 22, 2006

EDMONTON—Public Interest Alberta and Campaign 2000 challenged the provincial government today to not claw back the proposed new federal $100/ month for each child under the age of six from families on income support.

“Senior officials within the Alberta government have told us that unless the current policies change, the proposed new federal benefits will be clawed back from families receiving social assistance,” says Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. “On the day when the Alberta government announces plans for what it intends to do with its vast resource wealth, it is shocking that Alberta’s poorest families are not expected to receive any additional support and now may not in fact receive this new federal money either.”

There are 25,600 families receiving income support (19,600 single parent families) in Alberta, so approximately 8000 – 9000 of Alberta’s poorest children may not see any benefit from the Harper government’s new proposed program. Alberta continues to claw back the national child benefit funds from families on social assistance since the program started in 1998.

The government only allows the annual increase in the child benefit program to go to families on social assistance.“Alberta could be a national leader in the goal to eliminate child and family poverty, but sadly this does not appear to be a priority that will make it into today’s budget”, says Laurel Rothman, the National Coordinator of Campaign 2000, a non-partisan national coalition of more than 85 organizations committed to eliminating poverty among Canadian children.

“The Alberta government should join with Saskatchewan and Ontario and announce that it will not claw back the new federal funding from families receiving income assistance. In fact, if Alberta wants to show it is serious about the issue of child poverty, it should reverse its existing policy that claws back the National Child benefit”, says Rothman.Public Interest Alberta is beginning a province-wide consultation on what Albertans think a living wage is for their communities.

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