Posted on Jun 1, 2017

Affordability for Calgary-Buffalo

I am focused on making Alberta the best province it can be, and that includes ensuring that all Albertans have access to services that make life affordable. I have been working with my MLA colleagues to ensure everyone is supported as we surface from the recession, securing a strong and healthy future for Albertans and their families.

The foundation for a strong and healthy community starts with a childhood that supports children for future success as independent, stable and productive adults. Our government remains committed to moving forward on quality, affordable, and accessible childcare, which was a part of our platform. Twenty-two pilot Early Learning and Child Care Centres (ELCC) were launched May 1st, many of them opening throughout the summer. The ELCC is based on a maximum of $25/day child care. Currently, child care in Alberta costs an average of $1,000 per month, or $50/day. ELCC Centres will create 1,296 licensed child care spaces, 119 new child care jobs, and will support 357 Albertans in entering the workforce. Five of these centres will be based in Calgary with a total of 320 spots. You may apply to register your child at https://www.alberta.ca/early-learning-child-care-centres.aspx. ELCC will respond to a number of gaps in the existing child care system, including affordability, diverse needs of children and flexible hours for parents.

Our government is also responding to the need of affordable housing. Calgary has an average residential housing price of almost $500,000, with rental rates averaging around $1,300/month. As part of the Alberta Jobs Plan’s $1.2 billion investment, government expects to renew and build more than 6,000 affordable housing units over the next five years. In March, $5.7 million in funding was approved to support the planning of 14 affordable housing projects throughout the province. Five of these projects are in Calgary, with one just outside the Calgary-Buffalo constituency.

A large part of ensuring living affordability is meaningful employment. In partnership with the Government of Canada, the provincial government has launched the Employer Liaison Service pilot program in April. This service will help workers find new opportunities with employers across the province who are looking to fill highly-skilled positions. We have an exceptional pool of talented, well-trained and motivated workers in Alberta and our government is working with federal government to ensure these Calgarians are first in line for available jobs. This two-year pilot project will provide valuable insight to help us develop strategies to respond to labour challenges across various sectors and regions in Alberta.