Albertans have always been committed to care for the most vulnerable among us. We also understand the fundamental importance of personal responsibility, and that individuals, families and communities are the first and most important line of defence against crime, poverty and most other societal ills. Government can and should also play a supporting role by empowering people and charitable organizations to succeed, incenting charitable giving and volunteerism, and ensuring those who fall through the cracks are cared for in a compassionate and responsible manner.
The PC Government has clearly fallen into the trap of believing that a tightly controlled and centralized government bureaucracy is best suited to care for those in need. This has led to expensive and archaic assessment regimes, erratic funding for community support organizations and mental health facilities, and millions wasted on excessive administration.
In addition, many Albertans receiving social supports are able and would appreciate the opportunity to work part time in order to supplement their government income. Unfortunately, there is currently a disincentive to do so as support is often clawed back in proportion to the modest earnings or additional training such individuals achieve. Government should be providing incentives for those who are able to work or receive training – our current benefits regime often does the opposite.
- Introduce a volunteer tax credit for non-profits to attract and reward volunteers and will increase charitable donation tax credits to be at least or more generous than credits for political contributions. This will incent more Albertans to give and allow non-profits to have the funds they need to deliver the services many Albertans rely on
- Institute a more stable funding model for organizations and agencies with a proven track record of success through increases in line with inflation and other growth pressures
- Streamline and decentralize procedures to ensure more funding flows directly to individuals and families in need, and would phase out regional PDD boards in favour of a more localized approach to funding decision-making
- End the current practice of clawing back one dollar of income support, such as AISH, for every one dollar earned by recipients who choose to work
- Mandate all organizations dealing with homelessness provide measureable and quantifiable objectives and would hold them accountable for achieving them
- Carry out regular and random audits of all licensed group homes, assisted living residences and long-term care facilities, and publicly post infractions on line