We have three ideas on how we can help Albertans who are struggling to meet basic needs; Protecting social assistance, Basic Income, and most recently, talking about a Canada Disability Benefit.
We also look at access to services such as Affordable Public Transportation.
We use a three-pronged approach to try to address having enough money to live.
|Crossing our fingers for AISH to be above the poverty line|
1. Protecting Social Assistance
One of our goals is to have enough money to live. Many Albertans struggle to live a life above the poverty line. In December 2019, about 70,000 Albertans receive Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH). To learn more about AISH, please visit the Alberta Government's "Your Guide to AISH"
Since December 2019 Alberta social assistance programs like AISH are de-indexed. We are trying to monitor changes happening to AISH and income supports. AISH has been raised in 2019, and it was not increased since the 2012 Alberta budget announcement to increase AISH from $1188 to $1588 per month on April 1st, 2012.
We put together a resource page for people who may be struggling to make ends meet and where to go for help and encourage people to call Alberta 211.
History of Indexing AISH to the cost of living
It was the decision back in January 2019, AISH, Income Supports, and the Alberta Seniors Benefit were indexed to 2015 rates. For instance, AISH was $ 1588 and now moved to $ 1685 a month.
It costs a lot of money to live in Alberta. People living on AISH still falling behind as we have seen increases in our rent, food costs and there is no commitment from the government to index AISH to the cost of living at this time.
2. Basic Income +
We have been exploring basic income + now that the federal government announced in the recent throne speech to look at basic income for people with disabilities.
We have been thinking about what it could look like in Alberta as the costs of rent have not gone down despite the pandemic and recession. We need to look at what a person needs to live plus the services people with disabilities require to access the community.
Basic Income, is it possible?We are exploring the idea of what makes up a basic income. We are also on the steering committee of Basic Income Calgary. To learn more about Basic Income Calgary and Basic Income Alberta if you live outside of Calgary.
Basic Income YYC Arts Collective
In 2020, several artists from the Disability Action Hall were part of the Basic Income YYC Arts Collective, exploring basic income through the lens of Deaf, Disabled, and Mad. To see their amazing artwork and the collaborative image that was created, please visit this link
Make it Big Conference 2019
We recently attended the "Make it Big" conference 2019 where one of our members spoke on the panel. There is more work ahead!
Check out this Basic Income Event video from July 2016 and for more information and latest news visit www.basicincomecalgary.ca
To help raise awareness of how expensive it is to live in Calgary, two years ago, we did a Dare to Stair event. Please view Courtney Robertson's video footage of the display which was held at McHugh Bluff.
For many Albertans living on AISH, the increase will help pay for food, transportation, and essentials such as toiletries and clothes, (currently the majority of income assistance provided by the government goes to rent).
We are also part of several coalitions such as Poverty Talks and the Alberta Ability Network who also have websites. Our vision is that all Albertans will have a liveable income. Together we worked on the 1188 Challenge where we try to raise "Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped" (AISH) to an amount that is enough to live on in Calgary. (Stats Canada "Low-income cut off" ) and raising awareness of persons living in poverty. Poverty Talks guides the enough for all strategy through the voices of lived experience. Poverty talks is also an advisory of Vibrant Communities Calgary (VCC). VCC is the steward for Calgary's Enough for all Strategy and please visit their website if you would like to be a part of Enough for all.
3. Canada Disability Benefit
About Affordable Public Transportation
- To learn about Fair Entry, visit this link.
- Learn more about the policy that helps our City decide what is fair using a human rights lens, here is the Social Well Being policy you can download a copy from the City of Calgary website.
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