Report calls for big investment to curb poverty

The latest report on the state of poverty in Alberta says that unless the provincial government injects $1 billion into poverty reduction strategies it is unlikely to meet Alison Redford’s 2012 election campaign promise to eliminate child poverty by 2017 and reduce poverty overall by 2022.

“Social programs and public services are instrumental in supporting families and the government will certainly not eliminate child poverty unless it stops cutting budgets and starts investing in real solutions” Public Interest Alberta executive director Bill Moore-Kilgannon said in a November 26 press release.

From Words to Action was published by Public Interest Alberta the Edmonton Social Planning Council and the Alberta College of Social Workers. Based on the most recent statistics available the report says that one in 10 Alberta children live in poverty despite nearly 60 per cent of them having at least one parent working full-time year-round.

The report recommends raising an extra $1 billion for poverty reduction by increasing Alberta’s corporate tax rate — the lowest in Canada moving the province to a progressive tax system and increasing resource royalties.

According to From Words to Action despite Alberta’s overall wealth the bottom 50 per cent of wage earners in the province take home only 13 per cent of the share of the entire workforce’s income. The report also found that our province has the country’s lowest minimum wage highest rate of food bank use by those working full-time year round and one of the lowest post-secondary education participation rates.

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