Calgary

Alberta's new benefits for low-income parents average $1,688 per family

Alberta's new benefits for low-income parents are expected to total $336 million annually and reach 199,000 families across the province, including 380,000 children. That’s an average of $1,688 per family, per year.

Finance minister outlines details of programs included in first NDP budget

Finance Minister Joe Ceci said the new benefits will help struggling families find a way to start thriving. (CBC )

Alberta's new benefits for low-income parents are expected to total $336 million annually and reach 199,000 families across the province, including 380,000 children — that's an average of $1,688 per family each year.

"These programs will significantly help families stop struggling and start thriving," Finance Minister Joe Ceci said at a press conference at the Saddletown YMCA in Calgary on Tuesday.

"It's the right thing to do and it should have been done a long time ago."

The new benefits were included in the NDP government's first budget, released in October, but Ceci and Human Services Minister Irfan Sabir spoke in more detail about them at the press conference.

Alberta Child Benefit

The new Alberta Child Benefit will be made available to all families with an annual income below $41,220, with the value depending on how many children they have.

The maximum benefit for a family with one child is $1,100, increasing to $2,750 for families with four or more children.

Families will receive the benefits in quarterly instalments, starting in August 2016, Sabir said.

Modified working-family credit

In addition, the modified Alberta Family Employment Tax Credit will provide a larger credit to more families of low and moderate income than in the past.

Families with one child will now see a maximum annual benefit of $754, ranging up to $1,987 for families with four children or more.

The "phase out" threshold for that credit has also been boosted from its previous level of $36,778 to $41,250.

For families earning above that threshold, the amount of the credit will decrease proportionately to income, reaching zero around $77,000.

'Long time coming'

One in four Alberta families routinely struggles to make ends meet, according to Franco Savoia, director of Vibrant Communities Calgary, an anti-poverty agency.

He said the policy changes will help many people "lift themselves out of poverty."

"This has been a long time coming and it's a very, very important step," Savoia said.

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