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Enough Money to Live

Enough Money to Live

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 above the poverty line logo
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

We are in new discussions about a Canada Disability Benefit. We have learned the Disability Tax Credit has become a gatekeeper to many services available to Canadians to access disability supports. There are many groups and networks to take part in discussions across Canada. 
Read a recent poll released on June 22nd. Bill C-35 was presented at the House of Commons on June 22nd, 2021. 

About Affordable Public Transportation

We also work with the City of Calgary to help create an affordable City. We work with Fair Calgary Community Voices to help our city services are affordable for Calgarians. 


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27 comments:

  1. an increase would be good yearly for the rising cost of living but rent control in alberta would be very good or even if the provincial goverment gave back a precentage of rent such as 3 to 5 percent for low income or aish and seniors and poor

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    1. the ab gov missed the boat on rent controls by about 15 years or more

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  2. since the 400 increase the rents have gone up drastically and the cost of living perhaps some rent incentives or rent caps might help and increases of 100 a year to keep with constant rising prices of food and rent and uitities

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  3. Is aish going up bye April 1st

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  4. I have a Mortgage but I tell you, the property tax keeps going up, the utility bill keeps going up, groceries keep going up, and gas etc. We do not receive enough from AISH to cover all these things. I think a yearly increase is what is needed just to keep up. It's been 3 years since an increase, another big one is way overdue.

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  5. Where do I sign? Due to everything increasing in price, AISH is way overdue for an increase. And then a yearly increase is needed. Thanks.

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  6. I agree AISH needs go up. I am barely getting enough hours where I work sometimes can't make the extra 800. 00 bucks to live. Nor do I have enough money to pay off bills ,save money, and buy food. In other words I am in debt. A 500 increase, plus 800 to earn while working. Truth be told a lot of people with learning disabilities have a hard time finding and keeping employment because they are misunderstood. For them to live on 1588 alone is hard.

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  7. Aish incress is really needed in this city it is really hard to live in calgary at 1588.00 I really think the aish allowance should be 2088 now it is hard to live on 1588 our rent is gone up hair cutting is gone up food cast is gone up due to oil prices dropping what Is this we want a incress

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  8. We hope that aish Gos up my husband is unemployed I'm just can't make on $1.538 a month it needs to go up by at least $800. So the people can live. Or get these people back work. Or there going to a civil war

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  9. The alberta government doesn't seem to care they dont want to care , it gets "talked" about and then its swept underneath the carpet until xmas rolls around so they bring up topic again just to make themselves feel good about themselves, just another cycle. rent control needs to be brought back into alberta for those that are on aish and this three times your rent crap needs to go

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  10. The alberta government doesn't seem to care they dont want to care , it gets "talked" about and then its swept underneath the carpet until xmas rolls around so they bring up topic again just to make themselves feel good about themselves, just another cycle. rent control needs to be brought back into alberta for those that are on aish and this three times your rent crap needs to go

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  11. Aish doesnt let you get ahead. I work full time and my husband is on aish. We have a child on the way. But if I try to work extra to make a bit more money to help with debt, bills, savings anything its not even worth it cause his cheque then takes the hit for the extra work I have done. The cost of food, rent, and utilities have all gone up but Aish doesnt reflect that. But still my biggest issue is, its called assured "income" but the lower it based on my income. If my husband was able to work and make a true income that wouldnt happen.

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  12. An increase wold be very helpful in a city like edmonton the housing prices are so high we have to choose at the end of the month rent and all we have left to eat is sandwhiches....its impossible to keep up if there i an increase there needs to be a rent freeze so that the landlords cant take the extra away from s and only increase the rent about 3% per year like ontario....it works fo thm why not us

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  13. We need to badly have an increase soon by end of month some of s because of such high rentals in cities like edmonton are paying most of our rent are eating sandwhiches , kraft drinner se to be cheap ....not anymore fruit or vegtables ya right im on disability for a reason and i cant eat what i need to stay healthy enough to live, we ned a good increase but we need a rent freeze to stop landlords from being able to take it from us...
    landlords in ontario can only increase rent about 2% a year so why not the same respect for us and our protection...works for them

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  14. Increase aish by 400 asap please

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  15. Increase aish by 400 asap please

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  16. It was suppose to be indexed on last falls budget

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  17. I think aish should go up. Cause 1'588 and should be 2,500 an months

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  18. With rent, bills, and car payments (and it's a modestly cheap car under 10,000, my interest rate is 24.9% because of my low income), I can only pay bills and cannot afford food or necessities. I go to the food bank (only allowed once a month) and that is only enough rations for one week. So now I'm faced with the situation of having to pay money back that I have had to borrow so that I could eat and get gas in the car (to get to doctors appointments), I owe close to $5,000 in debts borrowed from friends and family and I cannot pay them back, but have to continue borrowing to survive. Then I find out about the refugees getting $6.000 a month and I wonder why they get so much and they are not even Canadians, and I get so little a month ($1.588) and I am a disabled Canadian Citizen, who lives in shame. The shame that our governments both provincial and federal do not seem to care. I for one, need a change. There needs to be an increase for the cost of living to our benefits due to inflation. The entire system is corrupt.

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  19. It nedds to go up ASAP 2088 per month at least

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    1. Yes I agree with you 100%. Something drastic needs to happen. It's the most disgusting thing I have ever endured, having to try and act like your life is normal and ok when in fact everyday is a struggle just to eat, clothe and pay regular bills never mind having the chance to save for anything, not even end of life expenses!!! Disgusting, absolutely disgusting!

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  20. Became disabled seven years ago, before that my family would have been considered middle upper class. We had a home with a mortgage for 16 years, two vehicles, a older holiday trailer and we went on vacation every couple of years, albeit they were only holidays within Canada, but still holidays. Since I have become disabled, we have lost our house because even after 16 years of good payments and no problems, when my mortgage came up for renewal in 2014, the Royal Bank of Canada would not renew the mortgage because with other debts we had and the mortgage, we were spending too much on debt repayment with me only getting $1588/month in AISH and CPP-D. After reporting this to credit burrows and it showing up during credit checks, we were unable to secure a new mortgage with any bank and ended up losing our home of 16 years. The house we raised two children in, the house that we worked so hard to own and keep up!!! Now we rent and I actually pay more in rent then I would have with a mortgage but the government doesn't care, the courts don't care, seems no one except others on the AISH program care. It's a very sad time when this country sends billions of dollars around the world when right here at home are people like me and my wife that didn't ask to become disabled, would gladly work if it was possible, have paid plenty of taxs and contributed to the Canada pension plan, our former employers also paid in to the pension plan, and we still face a DAILY STRUGGLE just to survive because that's all we are doing is surviving and not really living. When an emergency expense happens it's an absolute nightmare, where do we get what money we need, do we have anything left we can sell just so we don't owe money to someone, how are we going to get back on track? Not to mention, what do we do when something big is needed such as replacing an old broken down vehicle that we need to attend doctors appointment? If we can't attend our doctors appointments, AISH says they can cancel my benefits because I am not going to the appointment so therefore I must not be that badly disabled!!! What a load of crap. Now a carbon tax that I can not afford to pay upfront and then wait and hope to get it refunded to me...this is nuts, how do we do this to our own citizens? It is hard enough to live with a disability but to live with a disability and also with no dignity as well is just unbearable. I tried to go back to work against my doctors orders and all that did was get me 2 more operations and questions from AISH about why I trying to work and being subjected to an investigation.
    What is there to look forward too anymore? Nothing as far as I can see...only that things are going to be bleak for the rest of my life and that at 52 all my best days are over.

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  21. I am a single parent on aish living in a community of 115 people my son is to graduate grade 12 in June 2017 in December 2016 he turned 18 and was cut off child tax- family allowance so since December I have supported him on the $100 a month given by aish...With that being said it's not enough to support him I contacted the st Paul Alberta MLA and was told to take my son's to social services- income support when I contacted them in St Paul Alberta was told my son did not qualify for financial aid if he was in school full time and was told to go back to aish and collect my $100 a month and that was all anyone could help me with!! How does the government justify this?? So my son is to quit school to go get a job to support himself 6 months before he graduates???

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  22. I became disabled in 2012.I lived with my son for 5 years till climbing stairs just became so hard for me.Have to use a walker and a cane now.Had to move to apartment with elevator. Rent is 900.00.Have a car payment too.Insurance to pay for.Household bills not much left after.I have had to go to food bank at times too.Need just a wee bit more just to make it every month.I know there are people worse off then me.

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  23. 1588 is a spit in the bucket to just basic monthly expenses like utilities, groceries (bananas,weiners and Kraft dinner!), rent, tv/internet/phone bills. I have 33 dollars left after paying all of that. No money for a new light bulb, new cheaper clothes, furniture, kitchen appliances, maintenance , recreation, or ANYTHING . ITS GOT TO CHANGE! I am nearly underwater with 1588! 2088 at least or more.

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