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The Ministry of Community and Social Services exists to support the social inclusion of Albertans, while making sure these supports are sustainable for future generations.
As the Government implements Alberta’s Recovery Plan, our ministry is helping vulnerable Albertans find employment and participate in their communities. We know Alberta is stronger when everyone is included, and this is why we have implemented several programs that help Albertans achieve independence and opportunities, such as:
- helping Albertans get to where they need to go through our low-income transit support program, providing 520,000 low-income transit passes
- helping more than 700 Albertans per year live more independently through additional funding to the Residential Access Modification Program
During the pandemic, vulnerable Albertans have needed timely additional supports. Our ministry is helping all Albertans stay safe by providing consistent access to supports while we continue Alberta’s relaunch.
In response to COVID-19, ministry staff collaborated with community partners to address the needs of vulnerable Albertans. To support those facing homelessness and poverty during the pandemic, $60 million in emergency social services funding was immediately provided to homeless shelters, women’s shelters, and civil society organizations. We also provided an additional $48 million for homeless shelters and community organizations to continue isolation sites and ensure facilities meet public health requirements.
While we launch our province’s recovery plan, we owe it to all Albertans to make sure our programs meet the needs of today’s vulnerable people, while being sustainable for future generations. Right now, the costs are growing too rapidly to maintain into the future, especially given our fragile economy. We’re reviewing and refining programs to ensure they are available to serve the Albertans who truly need them, within our current fiscal reality.
We will also continue to reduce red tape to cut costs and streamline services. Recent examples supporting red tape reduction are:
- the initiation of auto-enrollment for AISH recipients to the Alberta Seniors Benefit program
- transitioning from single year to multi-year agreements for women’s shelters
Everyone’s circumstances are different, and the world around us is ever changing. This is why we need to constantly review, evaluate and alter the types of supports required to help Alberta’s most vulnerable people. Our priority remains ensuring social services are safely delivered at the right time, in the right way, to the right people.
Rajan Sawhney served as Minister of Community and Social Services from April 30, 2019 to July 7, 2021.