Affordability Action Plan sees Alberta households receiving rebates
Pass Herald Reporter
The Legislative Assembly of Alberta has introduced the Affordability Action Plan that would see Alberta households receiving rebates and price protection on fuel to combat the rising cost of inflation.
Affordability Minister Matt Jones spoke with the media about the benefits each household would receive under that legislation.
“The average Alberta household will benefit up to an estimated $900, that's households without children, without seniors or disabled Albertans. They'll be receiving up to $500 in electricity rebates, natural gas price protection and 13.6 cents off per liter from January to June on gasoline and diesel,” explained Jones.
As the inflation situation has persisted, Jones said they were working on relief payments to seniors, families with children, and disabled Albertans on core support programs. These groups will get an additional $600, made up of $100 payments each month from January to June. Every piece of the act has different timelines, but natural gas price protection will be a “permanent feature” in Alberta going forward.
“On an ongoing basis, if natural gas exceeds 650 Gigajoules, Albertans will receive a credit for the difference between 650 (Gigajoules) and the price on the natural gas portion of their bill,” said Jones.
They are also making the fuel tax rebate permanent. 13.6 cents per litre, including GST, will be taken off from January to June. After June it will continue, but will be based on the WTI (West Texas Intermediate) oil price index.
“The fuel tax relief right now is based on triggers and as long as oil prices in the previous quarter are above on average $80, there's a reduced fuel tax. If it's above $90, then the full fuel tax is removed,” explained Jones.
Those “triggers” will be suspended from January to June and then return after the period is over.
“We also put 20 million into food banks and are expanding low-income transit. Those (initiatives) will be over the next two years,” said Jones.
Beyond that, they will also be providing significant targeted relief to families with children up to age 17, seniors 65+ and vulnerable Albertans with household incomes under $180,000.
"That will give us six months to evaluate the state of inflation and cost of living (then) respond based on the situation at that time,” said Jones.
He said they are hoping to ease the pressures from families, in particular, those with children who are facing increased challenges due to inflation and excessive cost of living.
“This is the largest relief package in Canada by far and part of that is that for many of the same reasons that Albertans are struggling with cost of living, our commodity-based economy is doing very well and we want Albertans to benefit from their own resource,” added Jones.
Alberta NDP finance critic Shannon Phillips said Albertans still don’t have clear answers about when they will receive some of these benefits, despite weeks of anticipation.
“This provides no certainty whatsoever for families who are struggling and need these extra supports,” Phillips said in a statement, “In addition, a number of these initiatives are quite limited in scope, whether we are talking about electricity rebates or the natural gas piece.”
According to Phillips, the “incompetent performance” of the current government over the past three years and the handling of pandemic supports, does little to help convince Albertans this will work.
“Albertans have not been given any assurances that there will be a smooth roll-out of any of these benefits and the answers that were given (December 8) don’t inspire confidence in that regard.”
Visit alberta.ca/affordability-action-plan.aspx for more information on the Alberta government’s plan and the relief to Albertans it includes.