From the Minister

July 06, 2021 | Housing

Alberta’s government has unlocked federal funding to help Albertans afford their rent.

June 15, 2021 | Seniors

Join Alberta’s government in uniting against elder abuse.

June 10, 2021 | Seniors

Working across jurisdictions for seniors.

June 07, 2021 | Seniors

Each year, we declare the first full week of June as Seniors’ Week. It is a grand Alberta tradition dating back 35 years.

Accomplishments

Image of Minister Pon at Bow River Seniors Lodge

Government allocated $417 million over 3 years to provide 2,000 new and regenerated affordable housing units, 3,000 jobs and maintain the 26,700-units owned by the province.

Affordable Housing Review Panel

An independent review panel consulted stakeholders to prepare recommendations for Minister Pon about Alberta’s affordable housing system. Based on the panel’s advice, government will look to redefine it’s role, tap into community expertise, expand partnerships, reward innovation and simplify the system.

Red tape reduction measures automatically enrol AISH recipients in seniors financial programs at 65 and make it easier for seniors to send documents or make loan payments online.

Collaborative Online Resources and Education (CORE) is an online knowledge hub for seniors-serving organizations to share resources and improve delivery of services for seniors.

Key information

  • Protecting seniors
    • The Government of Alberta invested more than $170 million to help keep residents and staff in seniors’ lodges, long-term care and designated supportive living facilities safe from COVID-19. Alberta Health Services and Seniors and Housing coordinate the distribution of $14.2 million per month, including $2.9 million per month for seniors’ lodges.
    • More than $30 million was provided for emergency social services, including many seniors-serving organizations.
    • Healthy Aging CORE, an online hub, was launched in May 2020 to help make it easier for seniors-serving organizations to share resources and coordinate services. The online hub focusses on key COVID-19 issues such as transportation, food security, social isolation and home supports.
  • Affordable Housing Review
    • The Affordable Housing Review Panel was appointed on July 9, 2020 to provide the government with recommendations to transform how Alberta’s affordable housing system is delivered so it is able to address growing demand and is financially sustainable.
    • Nearly 500,000 Albertans spend more than 30% of their household income on housing, which is unaffordable according to the standard of housing affordability.
    • Currently, more than 110,000 Albertans live in affordable housing, while 19,000 more households are on waitlists.
    • The Government of Alberta provides 60,900 government-subsidized housing units.
  • Alberta seniors
    • Alberta’s seniors population is growing rapidly. Every month, 4,000 Albertans turn 65 years old. By 2035, Alberta will be home to more than one million seniors.
    • In Alberta, over 27% of seniors receive income supplements, compared to only 6.3% in B.C. and 7.3% in Ontario.
    • Seniors and Housing provides seniors financial assistance programs to help seniors meet their basic needs, make adaptations to their homes and afford essential personal and health supports.
    • The Alberta Social Housing Corporation owns and supports around 25,000 housing units for seniors. This makes up around 54% of its total housing portfolio.
  • Building more housing
    • Capital Plan 2020 allocated $417 million over 3 years to provide 2,000 new and regenerated affordable housing units, more than 3,000 jobs and maintain the 26,700 units owned by the province.
    • In 2020-21, the Alberta Social Housing Corporation will spend $216 million to support the development and maintenance of a sustainable affordable housing system.

In focus

Budget 2021

Alberta’s budget is focused on protecting lives and livelihoods, investing in health care, preparing for recovery and spending responsibly.

The panel explored ways to make Alberta’s affordable housing system more efficient and effective.

Reducing social isolation for seniors

Social isolation and exclusion can be a significant issue for many seniors. Toolkits are available to help service providers, community groups, and health professionals address its challenges.

Biography

Minister Josephine Pon was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta on April 16, 2019 as the MLA for Calgary-Beddington, and was appointed as Alberta’s Minister of Seniors and Housing on April 30, 2019.

Pon has a wealth of work experience in banking. For more than 20 years, she has worked with three major chartered banks: HSBC, Royal Bank and Scotiabank. Her experience included both personal and commercial banking. Her most recent appointment was as the Regional Manager, Business Development responsible for Multicultural Banking where she worked with more than 3,000 Scotiabank staff in the Prairie Region. During her career in the banking industry, she also worked at Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), a crown corporation in mortgage insurance, as an International Trade Consultant and in the Assisted Housing department for the Prairie Region.

Prior to being elected as an MLA and being appointed as Minister, Pon was the Vice President of the Taste of Asia Group in Calgary. This executive role provided her the opportunity to enhance her corporate business experience and get personal insight into the current economic situation in Alberta, especially the challenges faced by business owners, restaurant employees and everyday Albertans.

Pon has actively volunteered with numerous non-profit organizations in Calgary and Edmonton throughout her life. She was a member of the working group on the Edmonton Mayor’s Task Force to Eliminate Poverty, the Board Chair of Immigrant Services Calgary (ISC), Chair of the ISC Immigrants of Distinction Awards Gala, Vice President of the Hong Kong Canada Business Association and Cultural Advisor for the Glenbow Museum.