Accessible Widget

March 28, 2023

7 highlights from Canada's Spring Budget for 2023

We took a look at today's "Made in Canada Plan" and highlighted how Canada is making life a little bit more affordable for everyday Canadians. We also put the page number to help you find and read the details in the plan. 

what's new 2023 Canada budget highlights by Disability Action Hall

March 3, 2023

The Bare Necessities, Affordability Payment Update (Alberta Budget 2023)

Media Release - Affordable Payment Update, Calgary, AB. 

The Bare Necessities - 

What $100 buys for Albertans living on low-income

Bare Necessities by Disability Action Hall

 Comic PDF Download 

Albertans on social assistance, seniors, and Albertans with children whose household income is less than $180,000 per year have just received a second payment of $100. The provincial government estimates $96 million will give some relief to Albertans during the affordability crisis. Members of the Disability Action Hall and friends shared how they spent the first of six payments until June 30th, 2023.

 “If it were not for the $100, I would not be able to get what I needed. A $100 to one person might not be much, but for another, it could mean a valuable necessity,” - Angie

The Bare Necessities

Hall members appreciate the help the $100 provides and talked about some of their concerns.  Brad Robertson says, “We spent it on the bare necessities of life: shoes, toothpaste, and other hygiene products, the phone bill, a bus pass, iron injections, and shingles shots. However, most people said ‘groceries.’’ Costs have increased 11.4 % since January 2022 in Calgary such as a head of lettuce went up 35%.  

One person from Poverty Talks said, “I put my affordability payment towards my dietary needs because I was cut off my dietary benefits for AISH. So really, I gained nothing.” 

A single mom shared with us on social media, “The affordability payment went to Groceries for my two kids. I am a single mom with shared custody and on a fixed disability income, so $100 didn’t do much when I used to spend $400 per month on groceries and now spend $650 for the same groceries.” 


The Digital Divide and Eligibility

Not all Albertans living in poverty are eligible for the affordability payments. People on no social aid face higher utility bills with nowhere to turn. A person posted  "Groceries for my two kids. I’m a single mom with shared custody and on a fixed disability income, so $100 didn’t do much when I used to spend $400/month on groceries and now spend ~$650 for the same groceries. 

Another Poverty Talks member said " I am doing just fine and love inflation. I love being a hundredaire.”

According to the Red Deer Advocate,Minister of Technology and Innovation Nate Glubish says he is proud of the public servants who developed a “first-of-its-kind” online application portal in less than two months.” As of February 9th, over 950,000 Albertans signed up. 

Cartoon highlighting how people spent their $100 affordability payment. Results most people spent on food, then meds. We need a coordinated approach to address affordability
Yet, it is not so easy to apply. Some of our members helped friends and family to apply. While the website has a fact sheet and video on how to apply, it is not always helpful. Minister Glubish suggests people go to their nearest registry if they need help and Alberta Works has opened its office with extended hours.

What will happen in 6 months? Combining policies to address the affordability crisis.

With the temporary and limited relief, the affordability action plan provides Albertans, we are concerned about indexing social assistance to the cost of living.

AACT (Albertans Advocating for Change Together) calculates that when the 6 months of $100 runs out, people on AISH will have about $100/month less than their buying power in January 2019We need more money in people’s pockets to address affordability. Food Banks of Canada recommends combining policies like the Canada Disability Benefit, creating a minimum income floor like a basic income, greater support for seniors and persons with disabilities and unattached individuals, and more investment into affordable, accessible housing to provide relief to Canadians. Without further coordinated action by all levels of government, the bare necessities that the affordability payments made accessible will once again be out of reach to those with disabilities and low incomes.

February 22, 2023

3 ideas to try for Pink Shirt Day February 22nd, 2023

Today is pink shirt day. We have three ideas for you to try... and if you want to wear pink, you can. However not all of us love pink, the day which began in Nova Scotia in 2007 is about acts of kindness. 

What is Empathy? By Brene Brown

1. Check out the  "101 Random acts of kindness" today, or maybe even tomorrow. 

2. Watch Brene Brown's "What is empathy?" (We posted it before and it's worth sharing again. Empathy pronounced (m-pa-thee) is a video that is just under 3 minutes with playful graphics to enjoy.

3. If you happen to be on social media try out "T.H.I.N.K" when you are on social media or in a heated conversation?  The 10-second video below that asks you to "Think before speaking." T=Is it true? H=Is it helpful? I=Is it inspiring? N=Is it necessary. K=Is it kind. 

Happy pink shirt day☺ 

January 30, 2023

How is the Alberta Government Doing investing a 13.2 Billion Surplus? Let us know! (Updated Feb 2nd, 2023)

Plain text table below the infographic

How is Alberta government doing on the surplus? by Disability Action Hall


Surplus Stew

(9 steps on how Alberta may invest a 13.2 Billion surplus) Oct 17, 2022

Affordability Action Plan

(What the Alberta government

did with surplus)

Additional comments & Community Advocacy/Policy/Observations

Legislate free Internet Alberta-wide

Invested $ 36 Million into Alberta Broadband Strategy grants application from Dec 20 to Mar 2023

Grants are for service and parameters if the service is speed and connection, not necessarily free. Connectivity Summit and Calls to Action 5 calls to action in December 2022 for Truth and Reconciliation.

Index Social Assistance

·       AISH, Income Support, seniors, and Alberta child benefit payments will go up 6% in 2023 and will be indexed to keep up with inflation. Cost is calculated under the affordable action plan.

·       Unknown how AISH indexing will be calculated and indexed to what amount vs. current base of ex $ 1787 for AISH vs true costs of living.

·       AACT’s research  discussed how the $100 increase leaves people slightly behind due to cost of living increases and income clawbacks, January 26, ‘23

·       MP Carla Qualtrough virtually met with MLA Nixon  Canada Disability Benefit on Jan 23rd, 2023

Invest in Public Healthcare

Alberta Health Action Plan which includes:

Improve EMS response times 

Decrease ER wait times

Reduce surgery wait times

Develop long-term reforms


·       Added 20 ambulances (10 Edmonton/10 Calgary)

·       Added 6000 more surgeries in Edmonton and Calgary next 2 years,

·       Contracted out non-ambulance patient transfers to other drivers if medical stable freeing up 70 ambulances

·       A review completed with 45 recommendations to improve the emergency response report

·       $1.8 million over 3 years to 240 more pretreatment addiction beds at Calgary’s Oxford’s House (January 27th, 2023)

·       Waved co-payment fees, anonymous

·       Digital Overdose Response System (DORS) app

·       Expanded ”Opioid Agonist Treatment 

·       Edmonton and Calgary Community AddictionsTask Force

·       Launched  Recovery Access Alberta  virtual tool

·       Track overdose data.


·       Wait times for procedures Wait times for emergencies

·       Waitlist for the family doctor (250 accepting patients across Alberta Jan 2023) and addictions treatment (Not public -Informally up to 2 years, last AHS report released 2017/2018 showing 13-19 days wait time)

·       Mobile Health App Directory (in development) with 211 Alberta list of helplines

·       Waitlist for In-Person Counselling unknown, Rapid Response Counselling virtual or phone 72 hours through Community Connect YYC

·       Need to increase capacity to fast-track foreign medical workers to work with a doctor already in Alberta

·       Sexual Violence counseling (14-month wait list)

·       Gender Based + Analysis Course (Federal Government 2-hour certification program)

·       “Alberta Health redirects thousands of orthopedic surgeries to independent clinics to tackle backlog” Jan 23, 23 CBC Article

Address expensive clothing, bank fees, and other expenses

$2.8 billion in new relief measures that will cut costs for all Albertans and businesses Fuel tax rebates 13 cents/L, energy rebates, and electricity & natural gas rebates.

·       Food Bank Funding ($10 million over 2 years)

·       Personal Income tax brackets  indexed to inflation Annual basic personal amounts are expected to go up: 2.3% in 2022, an increase from $19,369 to $19,814, and 6% in 2023, an increase from $19,814 to $21,003

·       A 0% insurance rate pause on private automobile insurance from Jan 25, ‘23 until December ’23.

Community Food Centres of Canada makes the following 4 federal budget 2023 recommendations

·       Adopt a Canada Working-Age Supplement;

·       Commit to funding a Canada Disability Benefit in 2023;

·       Invest in an improved and expanded Employment Insurance program; and

·       Ensure equitable access to federal benefits.


The latest Market Basket Measures (MBM) report state Calgary is the 2nd most expensive city in Canada  link to an infographic by @TrevorToombe




We need people to help navigate systems to education and employment.

  • Expansion of post-secondary programs for 5500 more Albertans with Disabilities Jan 23 News release February 2022 Alberta’s government invested $6.5 million into additional province-wide employment grants to help Albertans with barriers to employment, including people with disabilities, find and maintain work.
  • $3 million more invested in grant for 7500 students with disabilities announced February 1st, 2023

· Eligibility (not sure if everyone can apply and hard to apply (not in plain language) and triple the amount of paperwork than AISH; have to apply for federal grants first. Link to Alberta student aid application grant. “The way to apply for all the federal and provincial grants is exactly the same, through Student Aid Alberta's website. It's not disability friendly at all.” 

·       Members of the Hall stated some people are getting more hours because of the grant made possible in February 2022.


25% Essential Disability Worker pay increase

Minister Nixon announces $24 million to attract and retain the disability workforce on December 21 ’22 News release and $2 million for indirect costs.

Reaction to the December 21st announcement from Alberta Disability Worker Association (ADWA) $24 million to workers step in the right direction; yet many workers not making a living wage; long term plan needed.”

Alberta Council of Disability Services ACDS stated “While encouraged by the news… there is much yet to ensure that the indirect costs gap and the wage gap are fully addressed.”

More affordable, accessible housing

·       Affordable Housing Framework report released.

·       56 beds added to YW women's shelter (Jan 23 joint intergovernmental funding)

·       Government of Canada Rental Housing, announced July 2021  Minister Nixon advocated for AISH to include Dec 22 in conversation with MP Carla Qualtrough to ensure persons on AISH are eligible.

·       Investing $55 Million in affordable housing partnerships (Dec 22)

Social Policy Collaborative recommendations for October 2022 include targets of

·       $ 90 million a year to cover 25% of the current cost for new builds

·       Operational funding review to ensure housing operators can maintain properties,

·       Immediate 10% increase to assist housing operators to maintain housing.

·       Calgary is in a tight rental housing market and resulted in over 1000 calls last year to the Distress Centre for mental health and housing

·       A statement on the Calgary Foundation site from Accessible Housing from 2019 stated:

Only 3.6% of Calgary’s total housing supply is affordable housing, yet the national average is 6%. There are fewer than 433 units of housing in Calgary that are both affordable and accessible. By 2019, an estimated 200,000 Calgarians over the age of 15 will be living with a disability. Individuals with disabilities are four times more likely to use subsidized housing and twice as likely to use homeless shelters to those without disabilities.”

Invest in Affordable, Accessible Pubilc Transportation

·       Expansion of the low-income transit pass province-wide 

  •  Alberta’s government is investing up to $15 million (an additional $ 8 million to support low-income pubic transit programs throughout the province.)

·       Unclear of Calgary Transit Access funding requests to address the demand for paratransit if Calgary votes on a primary transit network of high frequency vs route coverage (Route Ahead Strategy) Livewire article December 2022

·       Unclear if pilots address public transit in the election district of Highwood.

Ensure everyone has free, clean water across Alberta

Water for Life Program closed applications in November 2022 and covers communities typically under Alberta governance, unknown if more First Nations have been added  since December 2018 to 14 First Nations

February 2021 Article “Running out of water a constant fear for some on Tsuut’ina Nation”