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.