EDMONTON — Today’s announcement of an online portal for Albertans to access the UCP’s affordability measures means Albertans can expect further delays for these payments with cheques not expected until two months after the initial announcement of supports. Instead of using the Canada Revenue Agency and direct deposit, the UCP has opted to create a new, untested portal that could make it harder for Albertans to receive payment.
“Albertans are struggling to make ends meet, and every day we hear from folks who tell us they don’t know where to turn for support,” said Bradley Lafortune, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. “Once again, the UCP designed a program that experiments with the well-being of Albertans and fails to get at the root of the problem.”
“We already know this flawed affordability program is a band-aid solution. To add insult to injury, it’s being rolled out in a confusing and incompetent way,” said Lafortune. “Albertans don’t need another new UCP app like the old vaccine record QR code. Many Albertans, including seniors and others don’t have access to the internet or smart phones, and if they do, they want to be able to trust existing processes that are proven to work.”
Despite British Columbia and other provinces moving more quickly to implement affordability credits and measures through the CRA, the UCP government has insisted on developing its own portal for applicants to the program. According to the UCP government itself, Albertans might not receive payments until February 2023 or beyond. In addition to timeliness issues, the Auditor General has recently reported that controls over other provincially-administered programs were not applied, leaving Albertans concerned about the UCP government’s competence and fiscal responsibility.
“It seems the UCP would once again prefer to reinvent the wheel, while other provinces are moving ahead with tried and true systems,” added Lafortune. “I am deeply concerned this experiment will end up looking like Alberta’s failed COVID-19 tracking app or worse.”
"The UCP government’s program rollout is causing confusion and delay for Albertans, and it could have been avoided using a common sense approach to administering a different program – one that actually addresses Alberta’s affordability crisis,” concluded Lafortune. “This government is out of touch and distracted by political gamesmanship – it’s not acceptable when people’s housing, food, and income security are on the line.”