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Province maintaining some social services spending

Budget Day Marie Renaud 2
NDP MLA for St. Albert Marie Renaud is the opposition community and social services critic. DAN RIEDLHUBER/St. Albert Gazette

Spending for social service programs is being maintained or increased by the provincial government. 

Alberta’s 2020 budget, released Thursday, highlights spending for social programs, with Children’s Services receiving a bump in operating expenses to $1.636 billion for 2020-21, up from $1.560 billion last year. In 2021-22 the ministry will receive $1.693 billion.

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Budget 2020 highlights the ministry was able to save $26 million in the 2019-20 forecasted budget through transitioning child protection caseloads to kinship caregivers, lowering expenses for kinship care and streamlining child care benefits to focus on supporting approved programs and families in need who access childcare. 

The Ministry of Community and Social Services spending will be maintained over the next three years at $3.9 billion, where it sat in the 2019-20 budget. Last year, spending came in lower than predicted by $63 million due to changes to payments dates for Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) and Employment and Income support payments. 

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Funding for AISH will increase from $1.214 billion in 2019-20 to $1.290 billion in in 2020-21.

Budget 2020 notes spending increases in the ministry has outpaced population and growth, with caseload being the key driver. The ministry is responsible for spending on AISH, Family Support for Children with Disabilities (FSCD) and Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD). The ministry of Community and Social Services is undertaking a full review of its programs to make “fiscally responsible changes.”

Jennifer Henderson

About the Author: Jennifer Henderson

Jennifer Henderson is the editor of the St. Albert Gazette and has been with Great West Media since 2015
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