Author: Robert Roach
This is the first in a series of reports representing snapshots of the social services available in Alberta. Alberta’s welfare program has changed significantly since 1993. The changes are part of a general restructuring of the public sector in the province and in the country as a whole.
As is the case with UI reform, a number of general themes are evident:
increased emphasis on targeting those most in need;
spending reductions; and
the creation of an “active” rather than a “passive” program.
The generosity of SFI has been reduced as benefits have been cut rather than increased. Contrary to some characterizations, Albertans are not getting rich collecting welfare.
One thing that does seem certain is that the non-profit sector does not have the wherewithal to replace the large-scale income support programs that form the core of Canada’s income security system. Government will remain the main provider of cash income support for the foreseeable future.
With more information and a lot of imagination and effort, we can emerge from the 1990s with a better safety net than the old one.