Media releases | May 31, 2022

EDMONTON - As more families struggle with an escalating affordability crisis, MNP LTD. released a survey which shows one in three Albertans do not know how to get out of debt or where to turn to for help.

“Just about half of respondents to MNP’s survey said they would be embarrassed to seek help in a bad financial situation,” said Bradley Lafortune, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. “There is no shame in struggling financially. Nearly half of all Canadians live paycheque to paycheque, and half of Albertans are $200 away from not meeting their financial obligations. Struggles with money and affordability are much more common than one might think.”  

“Of course personal financial literacy is important,” Lafortune said. “But the real question is why are Albertans in so much consumer debt?”

“Wages and spending on public services have flatlined for decades,” explained Lafortune. “Combined with the skyrocketing costs of essentials like housing, food, and utilities and record-breaking inflation, it’s no wonder that so many Albertans are up late at night worried about paying the bills.” 

“And where is the UCP government to respond to this crisis?” asked Lafortune. “They’ve abandoned Albertans in a time of need and made things even worse through their reckless policy of cuts and deregulation. Everyone is seeing the result of this market agenda when they open their deregulated utility or car insurance bill. They’ve also slashed income supports for Alberta’s most vulnerable, including seniors and people with disabilities. They have frozen the minimum wage for the past 3 years. That amounts to over 12% reduction in the spending power of Alberta’s lowest wage workers since 2018.” 

“There are steps the provincial government could take today to ease this crisis and give Albertans much-needed relief,” said Lafortune. “The UCP should reintroduce caps on auto insurance, electricity and natural gas. They need to reintroduce the indexation of income support benefits to increase in line with inflation. They need to increase the minimum wage to deal with rampant inflation. And they need to finally get Alberta off the resource rollercoaster and have a stable revenue base through progressive taxation where the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share.” 

“The UCP needs to step up for Albertans to help with this crisis,” said Lafortune. “Albertans deserve better than to spend sleepless nights wondering how they will pay the bills.”