Posted on Oct 30, 2020


EDMONTON - NDP Community and Social Services Critic MLA Marie Renaud joined several Alberta AISH recipients to reflect on what she learned and experienced after living on the typical budget of an AISH recipient for a month.

“Jason Kenney seems to believe that AISH is too generous a benefit and has talked about removing people from this support that over 70,000 Albertan rely on to survive,” said Marie Renaud. 

“To most effectively advocate for those Albertans, I undertook this journey to get an understanding of the lives of someone on an AISH budget. I am grateful for the messages, support and advice I received from Albertans on AISH.”     

MLA Renaud lived on a budget of $1,685 for the month of October, with the guidance and mentorship of four AISH recipients Julie Heffel, Don Slater, Tarah Patterson, Ian Young.

“What I learned surprised me,” Renaud said. “Everything from meal planning, to traveling to running errands is so different for those on AISH.

“I also learned the lengths that those on these supports need to go to make ends meet. One of the key lessons I will take from this experience is a reinforced belief that our government needs to do a better job supporting and protecting vulnerable people. I am excited to take these experience into the Legislature as my Caucus and I continue to stand up for Albertans with disabilities”

Young thanked Renaud for her advocacy. 

“Marie’s hard work and her empathy has brought our community together, while Jason Kenney has nothing but divided us and created fear in our community,” he said. 

Heffel said the UCP Government has not paid any attention to the difficult lives of Albertans on AISH.

“They talk about us and make decisions for us without consulting us,” she said. “Marie listened. It was nice that a politician was not ignoring us or making assumptions about what we go through.”  

Slater called on the UCP to listen more effectively and perhaps have some of their MLAs undertake their own month living on an AISH recipient’s budget.

“What Marie did this past month showed empathy,” Slater said. “She showed our community that there are people out there that see us as equals and are willing to fight for our cause with us.”

The Alberta NDP continues to call for a reinstatement of AISH indexing at the rate of inflation, a reversal of the change to payment dates and for more consistent processes to ensure recipients receive their monthly funding on time.