Friday, October 28, 2016

Exemption from minimum wage increase because government doesn't have to do what the private sector has to do -------------Edwin Riediger, CEO of the local Robin Hood Association for the Handicapped, said he believes AISH should be indexed to the cost of living increases. “If the cost of living goes up by two or three per cent per year, then AISH should go up by the same amount,” he said. Riediger added that despite the discrepancy between the AISH salary and minimum wage, the Alberta assured income program is considered to be one of the highest in the country. “But the costs of living are also significant and I think there should be some review of the amount of AISH funding,” he said. “The review should be on a regular basis to ensure that it is keeping pace with the needs of people that require this level of support.” Howatt said the AISH wage should be increased to meet the new living wage. “If the government has determined that this is the living wage — which works out to $2,400 per month — then they owe it to AISH recipients to increase the benefits,” she said. “When is the government going to start putting their money where their mouth is?” --------Julie Ali Kind of hypocritical of government to characterize the AISH stipend as supports that aren't subject to cost of living increases but can simply absorb increased costs because ... .because the folks on AISH are without any voice in our society and have to suck it up? Like · Reply · Just now

No pay raise for disabled

By Sarah Comber, Sherwood Park News
Thursday, October 27, 2016 2:20:10 MDT PM
Ward 4 Coun. Carla Howatt with her daughter, Mackenzie Meyer, 23, who has been living on her own since the age of 18.

Photo Supplied
Ward 4 Coun. Carla Howatt with her daughter, Mackenzie Meyer, 23, who has been living on her own since the age of 18. Photo Supplied
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It’s no secret that minimum wage is increasing in Alberta to $15 per hour by 2018; the increase from $11.20 per hour to $12.20 per hour on Oct. 1 was the province’s first taste of change.

However, the wage increase will not affect the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) wage that provides financial help to individuals who are unable to work full-time due to disabilities.
One such individual is Ward 4 Coun. Carla Howatt’s daughter, Mackenzie Meyer.
Meyer is 23-years-old and has Down syndrome. She has lived on her own for five years and works four shifts a week, split between Goodwill and the County Clothesline in Sherwood Park.
The majority of her income is supplemented by the AISH program, which provides her $1,588 per month — equivalent to $9.93 per hour.
Her mother points out that the discrepancy between a $15-per-hour living wage and the AISH salary is unfair.
“The issue I have is that the provincial government has asked businesses during a tough economic time to basically ‘suck it up’ and pay the $15 per hour to their staff,” Howatt said.
“However, they are expecting AISH recipients to survive on the equivalent of $9.93 per hour.”
Furthermore, Howatt said she is concerned that the potential repercussions of raising Alberta’s minimum wage to $15 per hour may limit the amount of jobs available to disabled individuals like her daughter.
“I will use my daughter as an example,” Howatt said. “She does great at a lot of things but one thing that she cannot do is money — work the till, do the math. So, if someone is faced with having to pay $15 per hour, and their budget is now extremely tight for staff, who are they going to hire?”
Howatt — who stressed her views are personal and not associated with her role on council — added the NDP government is being disingenuous by stating that raising the minimum wage is about creating dignity and stability for vulnerable Albertans, yet they are not pulling through for the severely disabled.
“As a parent, it is very frustrating,” Howatt said. “To me, it sends a message that those with disabilities are not as important. And because they don’t have a voice, because they are not loud and angry, they are getting overlooked.”
Irfan Sabir, Minister of Human Services, said the Alberta government is committed to protecting services for Albertan’s that rely on AISH.
“We believe that all Albertans should be able to live in a stable home and be able to put food on the table,” Sabir said, adding the NDP government implemented a targeted funding increase of $28.3 million towards the AISH allowance in its 2016 budget.
“That funding increase primarily went towards two things,” he said. “Additional pressures…. and cost per case to deal with those pressures.”
Sabir said there have been 2,200 new AISH program applicants each year for the past five years.
“With the increased number of Albertans seeking support from AISH benefits, you need more personnel to deal with that,” he said.
Regarding the difference between the living wage and AISH salary, Sabir said that AISH “is a support program and needs to be seen as such.”
“The program needs to be seen within the context of other supports that are available to that individual,” he added.
Supports available to AISH recipients include the new Alberta Child Benefit, health benefits (such as prescription drugs, dental, and optical), Alberta Aids to Daily Living, and personal benefits like equipment maintenance or visits to a chiropractor.
Sabir added there is no formal review underway regarding the wage discrepancy.
“But that doesn’t mean that we can’t improve things,” he said. “We have heard concerns from the service providers and AISH community. Going forward, we will be looking for ways to improve the program and to best address the needs of the those who are in this program.”
The last wage increase for AISH recipients was in 2012 when the salary went up from $1,188 to $1,588 per month.
Edwin Riediger, CEO of the local Robin Hood Association for the Handicapped, said he believes AISH should be indexed to the cost of living increases.
“If the cost of living goes up by two or three per cent per year, then AISH should go up by the same amount,” he said.
Riediger added that despite the discrepancy between the AISH salary and minimum wage, the Alberta assured income program is considered to be one of the highest in the country.
“But the costs of living are also significant and I think there should be some review of the amount of AISH funding,” he said.
“The review should be on a regular basis to ensure that it is keeping pace with the needs of people that require this level of support.”
Howatt said the AISH wage should be increased to meet the new living wage.
“If the government has determined that this is the living wage — which works out to $2,400 per month — then they owe it to AISH recipients to increase the benefits,” she said.
“When is the government going to start putting their money where their mouth is?”


Julie Ali Kind of hypocritical of government to characterize the AISH stipend as supports that aren't subject to cost of living increases but can simply absorb increased costs because ... .because the folks on AISH are without any voice in our society and have to suck it up?
Like · Reply · Just now





Julie Ali Kind of hypocritical of government to characterize the AISH stipend as supports that aren't subject to cost of living increases but can simply absorb increased costs because ... .because the folks on AISH are without any voice in our society and have to suck it up?


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