Affordability Action Plan

Overview

Taking quick, effective action to cut costs and deliver relief to help families, businesses and vulnerable Albertans.

Overview

Alberta's economy has recovered, but many people are struggling with the rising cost of living due to inflation.

We want to help. The Affordability Action Plan is targeting areas where we can take quick, effective action to help Albertans affected by the affordability crisis.

Over the coming weeks, we will announce $2.8 billion in new affordability relief measures that will cut costs for families and businesses, and free up more money to help parents, seniors and vulnerable Albertans with their daily living costs.

Energy affordability programs

Details on an expanded fuel tax relief, electricity rebate and natural gas program will be announced in the coming weeks.

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Fuel tax relief

Alberta drivers will automatically save when filling up at the pump.

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Electricity rebates

Over 1.9 million homes, farms and businesses will receive rebates to cover high electricity costs.

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Natural gas rebates

Rebates will protect Albertans from high heating costs if monthly rates go above $6.50/gigajoule.

How the energy programs work

  • Fuel tax relief

    Update: Bill 2 was introduced December 7 to suspend the fuel tax for at least 6 more months. If passed, drivers will save 13 cents per litre from January to June 2023. Learn more about the proposed affordability relief measures.

    How it works now

    • Alberta’s government is providing relief to Albertans facing high fuel costs.
    • Effective October 1, Alberta drivers will automatically save:
      • 8.9 cents per litre on gasoline and diesel, including GST
      • 4.2 cents per litre on marked gasoline and diesel, including GST
    • The fuel tax relief program is reviewed on a quarterly basis. Each quarter, we consider reinstating the fuel tax in stages or extending fuel tax relief based on the average price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI). The next change to the relief program will occur on January 1 at the earliest.
    • Fuel tax is still collected on rail, propane and aviation fuels.

    How much drivers will save when filling up

    Vehicle (tank size in litres) $ saved per fillup $ per month (4 fillups) $ for 3 months
    Semi-trailer (1,364L) $121.74 $486.96 $1,460.88
    Ford F-150 (136L) $12.14 $48.56 $145.68
    Grand Cherokee (93L) $8.30 $33.20 $99.60
    Toyota Corolla (50L) $4.46 $17.84 $53.52

    Other ways to save

    • Fuel prices vary among retailers. Shop around for the best price before you fill up, or use an online resource like GasBuddy.com. 
  • Electricity rebates

    Update: Bill 2 was introduced December 7 to protect consumers from high power bills this winter. If passed, electricity rebates will be extended until April and electricity rates will be capped. Learn more about the proposed affordability relief measures.

    How it works now

    Many Albertans are facing high electricity bills. To help cover the costs, we are providing $300 in rebates to over 1.9 million homes, farms, and small businesses.

    • Six monthly rebates of $50 each will be applied directly to eligible electricity bills, for a total of $300.
      • Most Albertans will start to receive their rebates in July, but exact timing will vary depending on your billing cycle
      • Rebates will be applied each month for the rest of year, including December
      • Rebates will appear as a credit on your bill listed under the "GOA Utility Commodity Rebate"
      • Eligible consumers will automatically receive the rebate no application or action is required

    Eligibility

    • You are automatically eligible for the rebate if you are an electricity customer who:
      • is currently connected to the system and receive a monthly bill directly from a utility provider
      • consumed less than 250 megawatt hours of electricity within the past year 
      • disconnected from the system for missed payment but is still enrolled with an electricity retailer
    • You are not eligible for a rebate if you:
      • disconnected from the system and are not enrolled with an electricity retailer
      • don't receive monthly bills directly from a utility provider because you live in a sub-metered residence (some condos and apartments); only the main site that connects directly to the distribution system is eligible to receive the rebate, if it consumes less than 250 megawatt hours per year
      • provide yard or street lighting services
  • Natural gas rebates

    Coming soon: The current natural gas rebate will be transformed into year-round natural gas price protection. Learn more about upcoming affordability relief measures.

    Current rebate rate

    To help Albertans manage higher winter heating costs due to volatile natural gas prices, we're running an energy rebate program from October 2022 to March 2023 to shield consumers from price spikes.

    Most Albertans will receive the rebates automatically on their utility bill, but a small number of people not connected to the natural gas system or using other heating fuels will need to apply.

    • Highest default monthly natural gas rate (the Alberta price) for December 2022: $6.167 per gigajoule
    • No rebate will be credited for the December billing period but price protection is in place and rebates will be offered in January if the monthly rate rises above $6.50/gigajoule.

    How it works

    • Rebates will be applied directly to all eligible consumers' utility bill if the regulated monthly natural gas rate charged by any one of Alberta's 3 regulated utility providers is above $6.50 per gigajoule.
      • Each month we will post the highest price default natural gas rate (the Alberta price) from the 3 regulated utility providers (ATCO North, ATCO South, and APEX Utilities).
      • If the published Alberta price is above $6.50 per gigajoule, rebates will cover the difference between $6.50 per gigajoule and the regulated rate that calendar month. For example, if the Alberta price is $7.50, eligible consumers would get a rebate on their bill covering $1 for every gigajoule used.
      • Exact timing of the rebates will vary depending on your billing cycle.
    • Program runs from the start of October 2022 until the end of March 2023.

    Eligibility

    • You will automatically receive the rebate on your utility bill if you are a natural gas consumer who:
      • is connected to the system
      • is on either a regulated or competitive plan
      • uses less than 2,500 gigajoules of natural gas annually
    • You can receive a rebate if your household, small apartment building, farm, or small industrial or commercial operation is not connected to the natural gas system or uses other heating fuels under the maximum limit:
      • Propane: 16,334 litres per month
      • Heating oil: 10,780 litres per month
      • Kerosene: 11,068 litres per month
      • Non-connected natural gas: 417 gigajoules per month
    • Information on rebate application process for non-connected consumers and those using petroleum-based heating fuels will be available soon.
  • Get help

    Questions about your bill

    • Contact the Utilities Consumer Advocate at 310-4822 or email [email protected] for support if you believe you meet the eligibility criteria, but did not get a rebate on your natural gas bill.
    • Assistance information for consumers who are not connected to the natural gas system or consume other eligible heating fuels will be listed when the program starts. 

    Utility costs

    Phishing scams

    • The Government of Alberta will not send texts or emails about the rebate program and will not ask Albertans to submit information to receive rebates.
    • Be wary of any emails or texts related to the rebates that seem suspicious or ask for personal information.

    Financial assistance

  • Icon of a utility bill
    Want lower utility bills?

    The Utilities Consumer Advocate can help you understand your bill, offer tips to reduce energy, and find ways to save.

    Visit UCA Helps

Help for vulnerable Albertans

More affordability relief measures to help vulnerable Albertans with their daily living costs will be announced in the coming weeks.

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Financial benefit increases

AISH, Income Support, seniors and child benefit payments will go up 6% in 2023 and will be indexed to keep up with inflation.

 

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Food bank funding

Helping food banks put nutritious food on more tables by providing $20 million in funding over 2 years.

How we are helping

  • AISH benefits increase

    We are increasing monthly benefits for Albertans with disabilities to help with the high cost of living.

    How it works

    • In 2023, AISH benefits will go up 6%.
    • In future years, benefits will be indexed to inflation. This means the amount will change each year so it keeps up with the cost of living.

    New monthly rates

    Monthly payments vary depending on your needs and family size. The examples below are the maximum monthly core benefit. Supplementary benefits will also go up 6% and be indexed for inflation.

    • Core benefits
      • $1,787 – Living allowance
      • $342 – Modified living allowance for those in an approved nursing home, auxiliary hospital or designated supportive living facility
    • Child benefits
      • $212 – First dependent child
      • $106 – Each additional dependent child

    When payments will go up

    Need help?

  • Income Support benefit increase

    We are increasing monthly benefits for Albertans out of work to help with the high cost of living.

    How it works

    • In 2023, Income Support benefits will go up 6%.
    • In future years, benefits will be indexed to inflation. This means the amount will change each year so it keeps up with the cost of living.

    New monthly rates

    Monthly payments vary depending on your needs and family size. The examples below are the maximum monthly core benefit. Supplementary benefits will also go up 6% and be indexed for inflation.

    Table 1: Expected to Work Clients

    Household composition Core essential benefit Core shelter benefit (private housing)
    Single adult $440 $350
    Single adult, 1 child $652 $592
    Single adult, 2 children $758 $613
    Couple, no children $711 $473
    Couple, 1 child $923 $624
    Couple, 2 children $1,029 $645

    Table 2: Barriers to Full Employment Clients

    Household composition Core essential benefit Core shelter benefit (private housing)
    Single adult $569 $350
    Single adult, 1 child $781 $592
    Single adult, 2 children $887 $613
    Couple, no children $903 $473
    Couple, 1 child $1,115 $624
    Couple, 2 children $1,221 $645

    When payments will go up

    Need help?

    • If you get Income Support benefits, call your caseworker or local office.
    • For all other questions, call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre at 1-877-644-9992.
  • Alberta Seniors Benefit increase

    We are increasing monthly benefits for seniors to help with the high cost of living.

    How it works

    • In 2023, Alberta Seniors Benefit will go up 6%.
    • In future years, benefits will be indexed to inflation. This means the amount will change each year so it keeps up with the cost of living.

    New monthly rates

    • $303, up from $286

    When payments will go up

    Need help?

  • Alberta Child and Family Benefit increase

    We are increasing benefits for families with children to help with the high cost of living.

    How it works

    • In 2023, Alberta Child and Family Benefit payments will go up 6%.
    • In future years, payments will be indexed to inflation. This means the amount will change each year so it keeps up with the cost of living.

    New annual rates

    Annual Alberta Child and Family Benefit amounts, paid quarterly, vary depending on family size. The examples below are the maximum base amount.

    • $1,330 up to $1,450 - one child
    • $1,995 up to $2,193 - 2 children
    • $2,660 up to $2,920 - 3 children
    • $3,325 up to $3,632 - 4 or more children

    When payments will go up

    Need help?

  • Food bank funding

    The rising cost of food is making it harder for Albertans to provide for themselves and their families. Many people are turning to food banks for help.

    What we're doing

    We are helping local food banks and organizations put nutritious meals on more tables by providing $20 million in funding over 2 years.

    • $5 million each year will be distributed to food banks through the Family and Community Support Services Association of Alberta. The first $5 million will go out in the coming weeks.
    • $5 million each year will be used to support donation-matching campaigns to encourage more Albertans to donate to their local food bank.

    Need help?

    • To find a food bank or charity in your area, call or visit 211 Alberta.

Upcoming affordability relief measures

Bill 2: Inflation Relief Statutes Amendment Act was introduced on December 7. If passed, it will allow government to deliver critical broad-based inflation relief to all Albertans, with additional targeted supports for families, seniors and vulnerable Albertans.

See below for more details.

  • Fuel tax suspension

    If Bill 2 passes, drivers will pay even less at the pump.

    • The entire 13-cent provincial fuel tax on gasoline and diesel will be suspended between January and June 20, 2023, regardless of oil prices.
    • After June 2023, fuel tax relief will continue to be reviewed on a quarterly basis. If average oil prices are above $80 per barrel, the fuel tax relief will be extended or reinstated in stages.
  • Electricity price protection

    If Bill 2 passes, electricity consumers will be protected from high power bills this winter.

    • Consumers on the Regulated Rate Option (RRO) will not be charged more than 13.5 cents per kilowatt hour in January, February and March 2023.
    • Any costs above the 13.5 cent price ceiling will be deferred until rates drop and will be repaid over 21 months (April 2023 to December 2024).
    • This is a temporary measure while we explore longer-term solutions for the RRO to help keep energy affordable for Alberta families.

    Tip!

    • To save even more, find out if switching to a fixed rate is right for you. The current 13-month average is 7.83 cents/kWh. Get unbiased information at UCAhelps.ca.
  • Electricity and natural gas rebate extensions

    If Bill 2 passes, utility consumers will continue saving on their energy bills:

    • Electricity rebates will be extended for 1.9 million eligible homes, farms and businesses:
      • $75 rebate on power bills in January and February
      • $25 rebate on power bills in March and April
    • Natural gas rebate program will be extended beyond its current March 30, 2023 end date. Details will be announced in the new year once regulations are tabled.
  • Indexing personal income taxes

    If Bill 2 passes, all working Albertans can earn more before they start paying provincial income taxes.

    • Basic personal amounts, other credit amounts and income thresholds will be indexed to inflation.
    • Annual basic personal amounts are expected to go up:
      • 2.3% in 2022, an increase from $19,369 to $19,814
      • 6% in 2023, an increase from $19,814 to $21,003
    • Many Albertan will receive a higher refund or owe less tax in 2022, and will benefit from lower tax deductions on the paycheques in 2023.
    • Around 1.3 million tax filers don't pay any provincial income tax. Nearly 95,000 more Albertans won't have to pay by 2023.
  • Financial support payments for seniors and families

    If Bill 2 passes, seniors and families will get financial support to help cover higher living costs.

    • Starting January 2023:
      • seniors with household incomes below $180,000 per year will get 6 monthly payments of $100 for a total of $600
      • families with household incomes below $180,000 per year will get 6 monthly payments of $100 for a total of $600 for each dependent child under 18 years of age
    • Details on payment program will be announced soon.
  • Financial support payments for AISH, PDD and Income Support clients

    If Bill 2 passes:

    • Albertans on AISH, PDD and Income Support will also get $600 in financial support payments. 
      • Payments will be issued automatically the same way you receive your monthly benefit, there is no need to enrol.
      • Details on payment dates will be announced soon.
  • Low-income transit passes

    More information on the expansion of the low-income transit pass program in Alberta will be released soon.

Other ways we are helping you save

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    Lower overall taxes

    Albertans pay less in overall taxes with no PST, no payroll tax or health premium, as well as a low provincial income tax indexed for inflation that about 40% of Alberta tax filers don't pay. A couple earning $75,000 with 2 children would pay $1,500 more in B.C. and $3,900 more in Ontario.

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    Albertans earn more

    Alberta workers have the highest weekly earnings ($1,226) in the country, while households have the highest median after-tax income ($104,000), which is $7,000 higher than Ontario and $10,000 higher than BC.

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    Affordable broadband for all

    The Alberta Broadband Strategy will bring affordable, reliable, high-speed internet to rural Albertans across the province over the next 4 years.

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    Supporting students

    The New Beginnings Bursary provides $5,000 to low-income students studying in high-demand programs to help pay for tuition, fees, supplies and living costs. This financial support does not need to be repaid.

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    Affordable child care

    Families of children 0 to kindergarten-age earning up to $180,000 are now eligible for subsidy to lower child care costs. By 2026, all families will pay an average of $10 per day and 42,500 new licensed spaces will be added so families can choose the care that works for them.

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    Housing is affordable

    Alberta has some of the lowest housing prices and rental costs among Canadian urban centres. A smaller share of income is spent on home ownership costs – 29% in Edmonton and 39% in Calgary vs. the Canadian average of 60%.

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    Rent assistance

    The Temporary Rent Assistance Benefit helps eligible tenants who are low income or between jobs afford their rent while they stabilize or improve their situation.

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    Affordable school transportation

    The Fuel Price Contingency Program will remain in place for the 2022-23 school year to help school authorities cover higher transportation costs, providing millions of dollars in additional student transportation funding.