July 28, 2020

Episode #17: More Than a Cheque: Reducing Poverty and Building Shared Prosperity in Alberta

At the Business Council of Alberta, we spend a lot of time thinking about shared prosperity—how can we ensure that all those who call Alberta home have the opportunity, security and belonging to live the life that they aspire to? According to recent reports from Vibrant Communities Calgary and End Poverty Edmonton, more than 120,000 Calgarians and 100,870 Edmontonians live in poverty, respectively, and poverty is over-represented in children, women, newcomers, persons with disabilities, Indigenous Peoples, and the working poor.

Meaghon Reid and Erick Ambtman are Executive Directors for Vibrant Communities Calgary and End Poverty Edmonton, respectively, organizations that have a big, audacious goal to end poverty in Alberta. They join BCA president and host of this episode, Adam Legge, to dive into the relationship between poverty and shared prosperity, how COVID-19 has both accelerated the problem but also the opportunity for solutions and how businesses help drive meaningful action in reducing (and eliminating) poverty in Alberta.

Meaghon and Erick share several concrete ways businesses can help reduce poverty in Alberta beyond a cheque, including

  • Look at or develop social procurement policies to use purchasing power to support local community businesses
  • Look at vendors and contractors and their practices around paying a living wage and supporting the well-being of employees
  • Consider your ability to pay a living wage for employees
  • Assist with innovation for social service agencies and non-profits and look for opportunities to provide knowledge and insight to service agencies
  • Reach out to service agencies in your community to learn what they need and add supplies or materials to your bulk order

For the complete conversation on these ideas, please go to 43:35.

Contact Info

If you have further questions or would like to learn more about poverty reduction strategies in Alberta, reach out to either Meaghon or Erick.

Meaghon Reid, Vibrant Communities Calgary
Twitter: @Meaghon

Erick Ambtman, End Poverty Edmonton
Twitter: @ErickAmbtman

In this episode

  • 1:20: About Vibrant Communities Calgary and End Poverty Edmonton
  • 4:15: Landscape of poverty in Alberta
  • 16:35: Impact of COVID on poverty in Alberta and reduction strategies
  • 22:30: Opportunity for a universal basic income
  • 29:12: Importance of affordable and quality childcare in an inclusive recovery
  • 37:57: Definition of and opportunity for social procurement
  • 43:35: Meaningful actions for business to reduce poverty
  • 51:45: Optimism for Alberta’s future

Resources mentioned

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LinkedIn: @businesscouncilofalberta
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