Alberta poverty strategy sought

Canada’s richest province, Alberta, is trailing behind others in reducing poverty, says an advocacy group that wants to create a provincial strategy.

Canada’s richest province, Alberta, is trailing behind others in reducing poverty, says an advocacy group that wants to create a provincial strategy.

“We think Alberta, of all provinces, should be a leader in this,” said Bill Moore-Kilgannon, executive director of Public Interest Alberta. The independent public advocacy group is planning meetings across the province — starting with a forum in Red Deer on April 29 — to examine what can be done to give more Albertans the tools to succeed.

The group plans to ask people in business, social service and education fields, as well as municipal and provincial government — what should be included in a strategy to reduce the number of Albertans living in poverty?

Moore-Kilgannon thinks it’s a timely subject, since more and more people are being affected by the poor economy.

Quebec, Ontario, Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia have all either adopted targeted poverty reduction strategies, or are about to. Ontario’s plan, approved in November, aims to cut child and family poverty by 25 per cent over the next five years and contains some tracking measures to ensure progress is being made, said Moore-Kilgannon.

One method other provinces are using to stamp out disadvantage is strengthening funding to early childhood education programs. “If you can catch kids in their early years and provide good childhood development, experts have found there’s a ripple effect throughout their lifetime,” said Moore-Kilgannon.

He added that Alberta gives the least per-capita funding to day cares and other pre-school programs in the country.

Improving access to post-secondary schooling is another method that many provinces are choosing to combat poverty.

Moore-Kilgannon said colleges and universities need to be affordable, accessible and offer good quality education. It isn’t enough to increase student loans, since more than half of the surveyed Albertans who didn’t complete post-secondary education cited a fear of massive debt load as the reason. “The province of Alberta is also turning away thousands of qualified young people because there’s not enough space in the programs,” added Moore-Kilgannon, who believes this will have a serious impact on future poverty rates.

A surprising discovery is how many employed Albertans live in homeless shelters.

Moore-Kilgannon believes the government can help by reassessing, for instance, how much funding goes to private or non-profit agencies that provide care to very young, disabled or elderly people. Many workers in these “very important professions” are not being paid a living wage, he added.

“We want to open a dialogue about what should be included in a poverty reduction strategy in this province.”

It’s necessary to preregister for the forum, to be held from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 29, at the Red Deer Lodge, by calling 1-877-420-0471 or going online at www.pialberta.org/events

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Premier Jason Kenney struck back at unruly protesters who chanted ‘lock her up’ in relation to Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw on Monday. (Photo by Government of Alberta)
Alberta Premier calls for ‘unhinged conspiracy theorists’ to stop threatening the chief medical officer

Spreading misinformation, making threats is ‘beyond the pale,’ said Kenney

An internal investigation by AHS revealed 3,224 patients had their electronic health records accessed improperly by two clerical employees in the diagnostic imaging department at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Employees access 3K patients’ records in privacy breach at Red Deer hospital

3,224 patients had their electronic health records accessed improperly

(Black Press file photo).
Red Deer Boxing Club is moving to north industrial site

The property was rezoned to accommodate recreational uses

An Air Canada Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet arrives at Halifax Stanfield International Airport on Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Air Canada agrees to $5.9-billion aid package, giving Ottawa equity stake in airline

$1.4 billion earmarked to help reimburse thousands of customers

Innisfail RCMP say Brandon Pitts is missing. (Photo contributed)
Missing central Alberta man

Innisfail RCMP request public’s help

Hindu devotees wearing face masks as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus stand in a queue to offer prayers inside a temple dedicated to goddess Kali in Jammu, India, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. New infections have surged in the past month and India has now reported over 13.6 million cases — pushing its toll past Brazil, and making it second only to the United States. In the past 24 hours, over 160,000 new infections have been detected and experts fear that the worst is yet to come. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)
Johnson & Johnson delays shot rollout in Europe

BERLIN — Johnson & Johnson says it is delaying the rollout of… Continue reading

Restaurant workers and restaurant delivery workers wait in line to sign up for Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine at a mobile vaccine site, Wednesday, April 7, 2021, in the Sunset Park neighborhood of New York. The mobile vaccination effort includes two buses equipped with four to six vaccinators each, delivering the COVID-19 vaccine directly to communities most in need. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
US recommends ‘pause’ for J&J vaccine over clot reports

WASHINGTON — The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in using the single-dose… Continue reading

FILE-Team Canada’s Meaghan Mikkelson fights for control of the puck with U.S.A.’s Hayley Scamurra during third period of Women’s Rivalry Series hockey action in Vancouver, Wednesday, February 5, 2020. Gina Kingsbury, Hockey Canada’s director of women’s national teams, hopes a Rivalry Series against the United States can happen this winter.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michael Dwyer
Canadian women’s hockey team to open selection camp in Nova Scotia

Six goaltenders, 15 defenders and 26 forwards will vie for spots on Canada’s 23-player roster

FILE - Rhian Wilkinson, left, and Melissa Tancredi of Canada’s women’s soccer team attend a news conference in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 13, 2017 to announce their retirement from the team. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Former Canadian international Rhian Wilkinson now part of England coaching setup

Wilkinson left Canada Soccer in January to join interim England head coach Hege Riise as an assistant

Canadian actor/producer/director Jay Baruchel is photographed at the 5 Drive-In Theatre in Oakville, Ont., ahead of the premier of Baruchel’s movie Random Acts of Violence, Wednesday, July 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
Jay Baruchel to host Amazon Prime Video’s ‘LOL: Last One Laughing Canada’

Final comedian left standing wins a grand prize for a charity of their choice

Letters
Letter: Leaders like MLA Jason Stephan should work towards greater good

Red Deer South MLA Jason Stephan talks about the devastating social and… Continue reading

Opinion
Opinion: Women, hit hardest by pandemic, key to economic recovery

Events of the past year have laid bare the many disparities and… Continue reading

Most Read