Action on poverty

Taking action to prevent and reduce poverty in Alberta.

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.

Find supports and services

Click, call or come in to an Alberta Supports Centre to access more than 30 programs and 120 community services.

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.

File your tax return to receive the following benefits automatically if you qualify. 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 205,000 children in 2016-17.
  • 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 305,000 children benefited in 2016-17.
  • 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. In 2016/17 approximately 150,000 seniors received the monthly benefit.
  • Special Needs Assistance for Seniors (SNA) 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. In 2016/17 about 31,000 Alberta seniors accessed this program.
  • 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 will go up to $15 per hour by 2018, a move toward a living 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 have been eliminated to make education more affordable for the families of nearly 600,000 students across the province. Compared to 2 years ago, families will save 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 next year.
  • Early Learning and Child Care Centres is a province-wide 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.
  • 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 for the next 4 years. 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.

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.
  • Working to foster a more inclusive Alberta engagement gathered community input on ways the government can fight racism, foster acceptance and promote an inclusive society built on a foundation of mutual respect.
  • 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. 279 certificants have been issued since the program began in August 2016 (as of Sept 2017).

Investing in affordable housing and homeless supports

Housing is the biggest expense for low-income Albertans. With significant investments in homeless supports and affordable housing, we are helping many 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 over 5 years to build 4,100 new affordable housing units and improve 40,000 existing housing units by 2021.
  • 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.
  • Funding for emergency shelter upgrades provides $1.2 million to update fire safety and security systems, replace windows and flooring, renovate kitchens and washrooms, repair elevators and more.

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 Albertans get the education, skills and training they need to join the workforce and provide for themselves and their families.

  • Alberta Works and Alberta Support 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. Albertans visited a centre more than 2 million times in 2016-17.
  • Alberta Job Corps program provides Albertans with a sporadic employment history a pathway to a good-paying, stable job. The program provides structured, supportive training and hands-on experience working on projects for their local communities and non-profit organizations. The program supported 471 Albertans in 2016-17.
  • 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 3,900 Albertans in 2016-17.
  • 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 helps nearly 3,000 students gain the skills and experience they need to get good jobs and connect with employers.
  • Post-secondary tuition freeze was extended to the end of the 2018-19 academic year to help keep tuition and fees affordable for Alberta university and college students. An estimated 250,000 full- and part-time students and apprentices will benefit from the freeze on tuition and fees this year. An average student will save up to $1,500 in tuition costs over 4 years.
  • Summer Literacy Camps through Frontier College, a national charitable literacy organization, helped hundreds of Indigenous students in 14 communities build their literacy and numeracy skills so they can have greater success in school in 2017. These camps will continue in summer 2018 with the addition of a literacy camp for Indigenous children and youth. The camps and additional supports are funded through a $1.6 million grant over 3 years.
  • Women Building Futures helps women achieve economic prosperity through employment in the trades. In 2016, 94% of grads were hired in their trade of choice.
  • Disability Related Employment Services provides funding to help Albertans with disabilities gain the supports they need to overcome barriers to education or employment. The program helped 76 Albertans in 2016-17.