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Budget 2012 provides close to $5 billion in supports for vulnerable Albertans and seniors

Budget 2012 builds on Premier Redford’s commitment to strengthen benefits and supports to Albertans in their time of need, with $5 billion in total funding in 2012-13 for the ministries of Human Services and Seniors.

The budget includes funding increases to programs that support at-risk children and youth, homeless Albertans, the unemployed, Albertans with developmental disabilities, seniors and recipients of Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH).

“Our Premier believes supporting vulnerable Albertans is a top priority. I share her view that the measure of a society is how we treat our most vulnerable citizens,” said Human Services Minister Dave Hancock. “We are helping Albertans to reach their full potential. By helping them to better provide for their families, we will build stronger communities and in turn a stronger Alberta.”

Fulfilling the Premier’s commitment to support contracted agencies with staff retention and recruitment, $62 million will provide a five per cent wage increase and a $1,500 lump sum payment to staff who support vulnerable children, youth, families and people with developmental disabilities in 2012-13.

“Budget 2012 reinforces this government’s ongoing commitment to having the right programs and services in place to support those most in need,” said Seniors Minister George VanderBurg. “It’s a financial commitment to our seniors and vulnerable Albertans that will enhance their quality of life and allow them to better participate in their communities.”

Total funding for Human Services is budgeted at close to $2.6 billion in 2012-13, an increase of $132 million. Budget highlights include:

  • $75 million in additional funding for child intervention, which will help to strengthen families’ ability to care for their children in their homes, or place the children in a safe environment until their home situation improves. This funding will also provide additional financial assistance to foster parents and support more permanent placements for children.
  • An increase of $21 million to the child care program, which will provide full child care subsidies to families making $50,000 or less per year. This follows the Premier’s commitment to ensuring families have access to affordable, quality child care. It’s expected that more than 26,000 subsidies will be provided to low and middle-income families this year.
  • An additional $12.6 million for the Family Support for Children with Disabilities program, which will help more families of children with disabilities to care for their children.
  • Approximately $3 million in additional funding for early intervention services for children and youth, to help children, youth and families build on their strengths early on to prevent them from needing more invasive services in the future.
  • A total of $451 million for income supports to strengthen support for people who are looking for a job, in training so they can get a job, or temporarily unable to work. This funding will enable an increase in the benefit rates to these Albertans by an average of five per cent.
  • More than $69 million for outreach support services to help homeless Albertans secure and maintain permanent housing, which in turn will help them regain their dignity and independence. This funding is expected to help house 1,800 Albertans this year. Since
    2009-10, more than 4,800 formerly homeless Albertans have been housed through Alberta’s plan to end homelessness.
  • An increase of $4.4 million for workplace standards programming to strengthen inspections and investigations so workers go home safe and healthy at the end of every workday and are treated fairly in the workplace.

Total funding for Seniors is budgeted at about $2.5 billion, an increase of $320 million. Budget highlights include:

  • An additional $271 million for the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) program, to a total of just over $1 billion. The maximum monthly AISH benefit increases by $400 from $1,188 to $1,588 per month and the monthly employment income exemption thresholds double from $400 to $800 for single clients and from $975 to $1,950 for families.
  • An increase of $34 million in support to Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD), to a total of $664 million. Total funding includes $5 million for services to individuals who have complex needs.
  • Nearly $22 million in additional funding for the Alberta Seniors Benefit (ASB), to a total of $351 million. This increase is primarily due to an aging population, with more people turning 65 and more ASB clients being eligible for a higher benefit amount.
  • $177 million for seniors programs including seniors dental and optical assistance, seniors lodge assistance, property tax assistance programs and special needs assistance for seniors.
  • An additional $12 million for Alberta Aids to Daily Living, to a total of $135 million.
  • $25 million for the Affordable Supportive Living Initiative, which will support the continued development of new affordable supportive living spaces across the province.

For more information on Budget 2012, please visit http://budget2012.alberta.ca

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Media inquiries may be directed to:

Kathy Telfer, Director of Communications
Alberta Human Services
780-415-6490

Michael Shields, Director of Communications
Alberta Seniors
780-644-1108

To call toll free within Alberta dial 310-0000.


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