The Alberta ministers of health, education, human services and innovation and advanced education met for a press conference last week to discuss the merits of the new interim supply bill, which will see more funds put into their respective ministries.
Sarah Hoffman, minister of health, says at some point every family uses the health-care system and they deserve the best possible quality of services. The government is reversing cuts that were previously made to frontline services to ensure stable and predicable funding for acute care.
“This funding means we will avoid cutting 1,500 health-care worker positions. Alberta’s doctors will be able to see more patients and Alberta Health Service will be able to honour negotiated contracts,” Hoffman said. “We all know that Alberta’s would have been negatively affected by the cuts that were proposed by the previous government’s budget and Albertans knew that too and that’s why they rejected it.”
The provincial government plans to put $500 million into health care in order to achieve these goals.
They will also be putting an additional $103 million towards Alberta’s education, a move that Education Minister David Eggan says is important so the 12,000 new students who are starting school in the fall will have the needed tools to ensure the best education the province can provide.
“Securing a bright future for our children ensures that we have a bright future for all of us here in the province and an important step for providing a positive learning environment for our students is proper funding. I was very proud to stand with the premier when she announced the restoration of grant funding and the funding for enrolment here in the province,” he said.
“With this interim supply bill, we are taking an important step to demonstrating our commitment to parents, students, school boards and teachers across the province.”
Third on the list is the area of post-secondary education. Lori Sigurdson, minster of innovation and advanced education, says they will be using $40 million to help roll back market modifiers that were introduced in December for 25 programs across the province. She also says post-secondary education has to be accessible and that means keeping it affordable for students and families.
“Access to post-secondary education is about more than just (affordability), however. It is also about removing barriers and reducing inequalities so every student can pursue an education or career goal. We expect post-secondary educational institutions to follow this example and freeze mandatory non-instructional fees as well,” she said.
“This certainty will allow our educators to focus on delivering Canada’s best education and training that will help an estimated quarter of a million full-time and part-time learners develop the skills that job creators are looking for.”
Finally, Minister of Human Services Irfan Sabir announced $39 million for programs and services that will help Alberta’s more “vulnerable” residents. The funding will be used to expand services that are currently in place, which he says will offer stability and improve the quality of life for families and children who are at risk.
“It’s been said that the true merit of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members. Vulnerable people are not less deserving of our support simply because of the province’s economic circumstances. And today I am proud to announce that our interim supply legislation allows us to provide stable funding so we can help Albertans better deal with the tough time,” said Sabir.
He says that the government has been clear that they are committed to helping at-risk children and families and to paying more thought to the needs of aboriginal children in need of support as well as working for greater fairness for women.