When you’re living on Social Assistance, dreaming big means:
- Buying your own groceries
- Paying off your gas bill
- Having enough to pay your rent
- Buying school supplies for your child
- Not worrying about money every day
- Being able to go for coffee with a friend
New programs and services have gone a long way to alleviate poverty for certain groups in Alberta, but there are still a critical number of people living far, far below the poverty line. While we applaud the provincial and federal child tax benefit programs, women who have no dependents and are too young to be eligible for old age security are struggling.
Did you know that single people, unable to work, receive a base benefit of $833 a month? That’s not even half way to the poverty line.
For those deemed “employable,” the base benefit is even lower. In 2016, they were eligible for less than $650 a month, or 38% of the poverty line. At the Centre, women share stories every day of needing basic hygiene products, or emergency food hampers because they cannot make ends meet. We work to reflect these women’s experiences and priorities in policy making, and bring their voices to the table. We’re sending a letter and sharing the message online to encourage progress on this front.
Raising assistance rates would mean better health outcomes, less need for emergency services, more food sovereignty, less homelessness and let’s not forget, more dignity for women living in poverty. Thirty percent of single women in Canada between 45-64 years old live in poverty.
The next provincial budget is currently open for comment. Share your thoughts on the province’s 3-question survey Deadline extended to Friday February 9, 4:30pm.
If you have any questions about social assistance, feel free to connect us at 403-264-1155, or write to the Work for Change team.
 Statistics Canada, Canadian Income Survey, 2014. Based on after-tax LICOs.