A surplus shouldn't be celebrated unless more is done to help those living on low incomes

VCC discussed rising costs and how investments in affordable housing would save money in the long run with the Calgary Sun

4 July 2022

VCC's Meaghon Reid was asked to weigh in on rising inflation and declining consumer confidence in a recent Calgary Sun article. The article mentions how policies like the province’s de-indexing provincial income taxes and income supports and removing caps on utilities and auto insurance rates have exacerbated affordability issues for Albertans.

She said government actions lack proper scope and urgency given growing despair, particularly among people living on low income. “There’s a lot of distress in the community right now — every single month we’re hearing conversations that inflation is getting worse and that we’re going to be in this financial crisis for some time. The (provincial) government needs to immediately re-index Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped and we need living wages. If we don’t right the ship now, it’ll cost more in the future … if we don’t do these things, then a surplus isn’t anything to celebrate," she said.

Read the full article: NDP calls for action as consumer confidence plunges, inflation soars in Alberta.

Getting it right

Provincial supports such as AISH and Alberta Works should be enough to cover basic needs. They should be indexed annually to reflect the rising cost of living and exemption rates increased to reduce barriers to work.