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First affordability payments delivered, long-term solutions needed: recipients


The first instalment of the province’s affordability payments has been deposited into the bank accounts of Albertans already receiving income supports.

Albertans under the Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD), Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) and Seniors Benefit programs are among the first to have received the payments, and were not required to apply.

"Over 900,000 children, seniors and vulnerable Albertans are enrolled and scheduled to receive payments starting today and continuing over the coming days," said Andrea Farmer, press secretary to the minister of affordability and utilities, via email on Tuesday afternoon.

"Of this number, over 875,000 will receive payments today via direct deposit or cheques. This includes over 400,000 children and 175,000 seniors, and an additional 300,000 Albertans on core support programs who were automatically enrolled."

For some of these Albertans, "it's nice, but it's not enough."

"A bunch of us feel like we're not heard or understood or cared for," said Angie Brown, a High River resident who receives both PDD and AISH.

She says it’s been challenging to get groceries for the meals that aren't provided in her accommodations.

"It's hard to get fresh food because sometimes I may want a salad for lunch or a smoothie. But everything is like, really expensive right now," said Brown.

She relies on a mobility scooter in the warmer months, or taxis at other times, and adds that transportation is an added challenge for a person of her circumstance living outside an urban centre.


Colleen Huston with the Disability Action Hall says the payments are a step to helping vulnerable Albertans, but wants to see the province come up with longer-term solutions to address poverty.

"We need a poverty reduction plan. We need to look at all the costs of basic needs," said Huston.

She says the province's Affordability Action Plan is missing out on helping Albertans who don't qualify for these programs, for those experiencing homelessness.


The eligibility criteria for those who do not automatically qualify for the payments include:

  • Seniors 65+ with a household income under $180,000; and
  • Families with children under 18 with a household income under $180,000.

Other advocates say they are concerned about those who do not meet this criteria.

"There are some people here who have really fallen through the cracks who we know are in poverty from an evidence perspective. (For post-secondary) students, the poverty rate among young adults between 18 and 24 is the highest among all age groups," said Meaghon Reid, executive director with Vibrant Communities Calgary.

Farmer's statement said the needs of post-secondary students are not lost on the provincial government.

"We have and we will continue to listen to the concerns of students and our government is focused on keeping Alberta affordable," Farmer said.

"We have already taken some important steps to help ease the inflationary pressures our post-secondary students are facing which incudes a new investment of $15 million to create a new bursary for low-income students and an additional investment of $12 million to support more scholarships and bursaries. We are also exploring if there are other measures that can be implemented to help our students."

The program allows in-person applications at Alberta Registries or Alberta Supports Centres, but otherwise the online application process launched on Jan. 18 for those with a valid My Alberta ID.

Reid says she's concerned for those who face barriers in applying in-person or online.

"That might be people without computers, or reliable internet access, or that digital literacy to be able to log on and to complete that account. And so while we are glad for the people who are receiving it, we have a big question mark about who's not receiving it," she said. Top Stories

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