The past year has been incredibly difficult for many in our community. For many others, it is just the most recent year in several difficult years. On the heals of rising unemployment, the pandemic delivered a crushing blow to many.
One quarter of Albertans relied on the income support of the CERB program as businesses closed and hours of employment were dramatically reduced.
While unemployment has steadily improved over recent months, many still do not know how they will pay for rent, groceries and the other essentials of daily living.
It is important that those struggling financially ensure they are receiving the benefits that are designed to assist them through this period. If you know someone having financial difficulties, please take a moment to see if you can help them access some of the supports available.
The federal government has a new website to help in this process – www.canada.ca/everydollarcounts.
On top of a number of income support benefits, the website also provides information on support for skills training, child benefits, housing supports and GST credits.
Additional supports are available if you are impacted directly by COVID-19, a disability or you are a senior, veteran or belong to a marginalized group.
In addition, I encourage everyone to visit www.canadabenefits.gc.ca to ensure you are receiving all the government benefits you are entitled to. After answering a few multiple-choice questions, you will be provided with a list of programs and benefits that you may be entitled to. Even if you do not think you qualify for any support, you may be surprised to find out you actually do.
If you need to speak to someone about your mental health, please do not hesitate to reach out for help 24/7 by calling 1-833-456-4566 or texting 45645 (2pm-10pm). Those 29 and younger can call Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 or by texting 686868.