Media releases | November 08, 2018
EDMONTON – The Government of Alberta has introduced An Act to Combat Poverty and Fight for Albertans with Disabilities, which if passed will increase and index income support rates for its Income Support and Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) programs. These are changes Public Interest Alberta has been advocating for years.

"Our social assistance rates were among the lowest in the country, which has been particularly shameful given the strength of our economy and the high cost of living in our province," said Joel French, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. "The changes today put us on the path to correcting that and helping to lift vulnerable Albertans out of poverty, supporting them to live with health and dignity."

French highlighted the indexing of both income support programs to the cost of living as common sense changes that were long overdue.

"Having income support programs not indexed with cost of living increases has meant Alberta's support for our most vulnerable was decreasing every year," said French. "It was an injustice that amounted to a beating on Albertans who were already down. Changing that is a big victory for fairness and is a sign Alberta is serious about moving forward to address poverty."

French highlighted the next big step for Alberta as establishing a poverty reduction and elimination strategy.

"Alberta remains the only province in the country without a poverty strategy that ties all of its programs and initiatives together with a coherent plan," added French. "Individual actions like this that reduce poverty are important, but we also need a clear path to show when and how we will finally eliminate poverty."