About Alberta’s actions
Poverty is a lack of resources, income and assets necessary for a standard of living that supports economic security, physical stability and social inclusion.
We're working with community partners to address poverty and help Albertans take part in our province’s economy, communities and cultural life so they can reach their potential.
Making life more affordable
Supporting financial security of individuals and families is key to addressing poverty in Alberta.
We have a range of programs, benefits and policies that make life more affordable and help lower-income Albertans meet their needs and participate in communities.
Find supports and services
Click, call or come in to an Alberta Supports Centre to access more than 30 programs and 120 community services.
You will receive following benefits automatically if you qualify, if you file your tax return. Need help? Find a free tax preparation clinic near you.
- Alberta Child Benefit provides direct financial assistance to lower-income families with children under 18 who have a family net income less than $42,255 per year. The benefit helped about 135,000 families in 2017-18.
- Alberta Family Employment Tax Credit helps lower- and middle-income working families provide for their children and gives parents an incentive to keep working. The amount received depends on annual net income and the number of children under 18. About 185,000 families benefited in 2017-18.
- Alberta Seniors Benefit helps eligible Albertans 65 and older by providing an income supplement to federal income sources including Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement. The amount provided depends on many factors including marital status, income, the type of accommodation resided in, and eligibility for the federal Old Age Security pension. More than 156,000 seniors received the monthly benefit in 2017-18.
- Special Needs Assistance for Seniors program provides a lump-sum payment to eligible low-income seniors to help with the cost of appliances and some health and personal supports. The maximum assistance available is $5,000 per benefit year and eligibility depends on total annual income, residence and marital status. About 31,000 Alberta seniors accessed this program in 2017-18.
- Carbon levy rebates for lower- and middle-income Albertans help offset costs associated with the carbon levy. The rebates protect Albertans who typically spend a higher percentage of their income on energy costs and have fewer financial resources to invest in energy-efficiency products. Full rebates are provided to single Albertans who earn $47,500 or less, and to couples, single parents and families who earn $95,000 or less.
Learn about other ways we're working to make life more affordable for Albertans.
- Alberta's minimum wage went up to $15 per hour on Oct. 1, 2018 – a move toward a fair wage for every Albertan. A higher minimum wage can help reduce poverty, lessen the burden on social support programs and improve the quality of life for vulnerable Albertans.
- Low Income Transit Pass in Calgary and the Ride Transit Program in Edmonton provides low-income Albertans with subsidized transit passes so they can get around the city to access the jobs, services and resources they need.
- Certain school and transportation fees were eliminated in 2017 to make education more affordable for the families of nearly 600,000 students across the province. Compared to the 2016-17 school year, families are saving an average of $88 per student.
- School nutrition program was expanded to all school boards in the province in the 2017-18 school year. The program gives students in select elementary schools a daily meal to get through the school day and help them develop skills toward lifelong healthy nutrition. With a 55% funding increase in Budget 2018, an estimated 30,000 students will receive a daily nutritious meal in the 2018-19 school year.
- Early Learning and Child Care Centres is a provincewide pilot program that provides child care for children 0-6 with maximum fees of $25 per day. The centres may also offer flexible child care for parents who work part time or shifts that are outside typical daycare hours.
- Child care subsidies helps eligible lower-income families offset the cost of child care. Financial support is available to parents with children 0-12 years enrolled in a licensed child care program, parents needing child care during evenings or weekends, parents who pay relatives to care for children (Kin Child Care), and stay-at-home parents.
- New payday loan laws have made Alberta's payday loan borrowing fees the lowest in Canada – $15 per $100 borrowed. The law also requires payday lenders to provide instalment plans and no penalty for early payback on all loans, protecting the consumers who use these lenders.
- Door-to-door energy sales ban protects Albertans from misleading, high-pressure sales practices. The ban prohibits unsolicited door-to-door selling of household energy products, including furnaces, natural gas and electricity contracts, water heaters, windows, air conditioners and energy audits.
- Price cap on electricity will protect Albertans from sudden increases in electricity prices until May 31, 2021. The price cap will ensure Albertans pay no more than 6.8 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity - the same as current long-term retail prices.
- Access to AISH supports was improved by introducing new application forms and guides to make it easier to access the program.
- Act to Strengthen Financial Security for Persons with Disabilities allows people with disabilities to receive a trust fund without negatively affecting their eligibility for AISH.
Supporting wellness and social inclusion
Ensuring communities are safe, healthy and welcoming is vital to breaking the cycle of poverty and helping Albertans live fulfilling lives.
We’re taking action to help increase inclusion and well-being for individuals and families in communities.
- Service Dogs Qualifications Regulation will allow more schools to train qualified services dogs, giving more Albertans opportunities to find a job, attend school and participate in their communities.
- Status of Women grant program helps non-profit and charitable organizations implement projects that improve women's economic security, prevent and end gender-based violence and increase opportunities for women to pursue leadership roles and participate in democracy.
- Valuing Mental Health initiative works with partners to integrate and coordinate addiction and mental health services for Albertans, including people with complex needs and Indigenous people and communities. One in 5 Albertans are affected by mental health issues and 1 in 10 will require addiction treatment at some point in their lives.
- Modernized laws for fines and minor offences ends the practice of issuing warrants for unpaid fines for minor infractions such as not shovelling a sidewalk or not paying a transit fee, which can reinforce a cycle of poverty for lower-income Albertans who are struggling to make ends meet.
- Modernized workplace laws increases unpaid job protection for personal sickness and family responsibilities, critical or long-term illness, compassionate care leaves and introduced a new domestic violence leave to help Albertans affected by family violence.
- Enhanced Capacity Advancement Program helps the non-profit sector strengthen skills in leadership, collaboration and financial sustainability so they can continue to provide Albertans with opportunities in the arts, culture and recreation.
- Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) programs designed and delivered by 319 municipalities and Métis settlements provide important prevention and early intervention services to meet the needs of children, families and seniors across the province. Recognizing the value of this partnership with communities, our government increased our annual funding by $25 million to $101 million.
- Taking Action Against Racism report outlines ways we can help foster a more inclusive Alberta, including establishing an anti-racism advisory council and a community grant program. We're gathering feedback from communities across the province on the other action items listed in the report.
- Safer spaces certificate allows victims of domestic violence to end their rental agreements without financial penalty by getting a certificate confirming grounds to terminate tenancy. 379 certificates have been issued since the program began in August 2016 (as of Feb 2018).
- New abuse helpline provides a centralized phone number (1-855-4HELPAB) for people to report suspected cases of abuse or neglect.
- Child Intervention Action Plan provides a pathway to a stronger, safer child intervention system that better protects children and supports families. It outlines 39 actions - including 16 this fiscal year - that we're taking to improve services for Indigenous families, increase support for children, youth and caregivers, and address the funding gap on reserve.
Supporting affordable housing and homeless supports
Housing is the biggest expense for most people.
We're investing in affordable housing and homeless supports to help low-income Albertans find safe and stable homes – so they can focus on their well-being, employment and education opportunities, and build connections in their communities.
- Alberta's affordable housing strategy invests in building more affordable housing for those who need it, gives tenants the tools they need to be successful and encourages them to improve their financial circumstances, helps seniors age in their community and provides housing providers with sustainable funding. We're investing $1.2 billion to build about 4,100 new and updated affordable housing units.
- Housing First has provided 15,000 homeless Albertans with permanent housing and wraparound supports since 2009. We're expanding Housing First programming and building new supportive housing units so more people can move off the street, out of shelters and into their own home.
- LGBTQ Youth Housing and Shelter Guidelines helps ensure our housing and homelessness system is secure and inclusive for everyone. Nearly 1 in 3 homeless youth in Canada identify as LGBTQ and face higher rates of discrimination, violence and abuse than other young people.
- Safe housing for women in crisis investment will provide $8.6 million in capital funding to build 100 transitional shelter homes in Calgary for women and children fleeing abuse or living in poverty.
- Indigenous Housing Capital Program will invest $120 million to launch the province's first program to build affordable homes directly designed and owned by Indigenous governments and organizations.
Enhancing skills, education and employment opportunities
Education, training and employment are powerful equalizers of poverty. When Albertans have the skills and the opportunities they need to succeed – then that’s exactly what they do.
We’re focused on policies and programs that help people get the education, skills and training they need to join the workforce and provide for themselves and their families.
- Alberta Supports and Alberta Works Centres help unemployed and low-income Albertans meet their basic needs and find jobs. More than 50 centres provide employment services, income assistance, health benefits and child support services across Alberta. Nearly 150,000 people received services by visiting Alberta Supports Centres in 2017-18.
- Training for Work is a suite of training programs and services for unemployed, underemployed and underrepresented Albertans. Occupation-focused training programs help Albertans get jobs, improve their employment situation, adapt to changing labour market conditions or gain skills to sustain employment. The program supported more than 6,100 people in 2017-18.
- Transition to Employment Services invests $15 million over 3 years to ensure Albertans have supports they need to be successful in the workforce.
- Work Foundations provides programs for adult learning that include full- and part-time training in literacy and learning, academic upgrading and English as a Second Language.
- Women Building Futures prepares women for economically prosperous careers where women have historically been under-represented. In 2017, 95% of graduates were employed in the construction and maintenance industry within 6 months of graduating.
- Disability Related Employment Supports provides funding to help Albertans with disabilities gain the individualized employment and training supports they need to overcome barriers. The program helped 110 Albertans in 2017-18.
- Coal Workforce Transition Program provides financial, employment and retraining support to assist affected workers through re-employment, retirement, relocation or training as workers prepare to start new jobs or retire.
- Summer Temporary Employment Program (STEP) provides a wage subsidy to employers who hire high school and post-secondary students between May and August. The program helped nearly 3,000 students gain the skills and experience they need to get good jobs and connect with employers in 2017-18.
- Post-secondary tuition freeze was extended to the end of the 2019-20 academic year to ensure university and college students have predictable and affordable tuition and fees. An average student will save up to $2,000 in tuition costs over the course of their degree.
- Summer Literacy Camps through Frontier College, a national charitable literacy organization, helped hundreds of Indigenous students in 23 communities build their literacy and numeracy skills so they can have greater success in school. The camps and additional supports are funded through a $2.15 million grant over 3 years.