Opinion: Why do we penalize people who work while on Income Support?

The Social Policy Collaborative discusses issues with income support in op-ed

4 February 2022

Most Albertans would agree that having a job is a good thing. If every Albertan who wants to work, can work, our communities are better for it. Having a job contributes to personal financial stability and can provide a sense of pride and purpose. Working people pay taxes and help businesses operate.

Given these factors, penalizing people for working, as certain government policies do, seems backwards. Alberta’s Income Support program — a government program that helps struggling Albertans pay for basic expenses like food, shelter and clothing — currently penalizes people for pursuing employment while receiving benefits. These penalties are occurring at a time when many business owners are struggling to find workers, and while unemployment remains relatively high in Alberta.

The Social Policy Collaborative's members Meaghon Reid, executive director of Vibrant Communities Calgary; Joy Bowen-Eyre, CEO of The Alex Community Health Centre; and Jeff Loomis, executive director of Momentum penned an op-ed for the Calgary Herald calling for Alberta's government to make changes to income support programs to create a greater incentive to work.

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