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April 1, 2021

Alberta’s Path to Social Assistance Reform

  • Alberta’s social assistance programs have been the fastest growing among provincial income support programs with caseloads doubling between 2008 and 2019.
  • High clawback rates and low earnings exemptions decrease the likelihood of recipients bouncing out of the social safety net and back into the labour market.
  • “Rather than improving social assistance through stricter eligibility criteria for access to benefits,” said co-author Parisa Mahboubi, “support programs should focus on increasing work incentives, reducing the cost of returning to work, and tackling other barriers to employment.”
Parisa Mahboubi

Parisa Mahboubi is a Senior Policy Analyst and leads the C.D. Howe Institute's human capital policy program. Her research interest focuses on social policy with a concentration on demographic, skills, education, and labour market concerns. In addition to authoring research studies, she regularly writes a column for the Globe and Mail’s business section.

Mariam Ragab

Mariam Ragab is a former research assistant at the C.D. Howe Institute.