A new report on poverty and cost of living isn’t giving good news to Albertans who are already struggling to make ends meet. 

Earlier this week, Food Banks Canada released its annual Poverty Report Card, which examines trends in poverty figures and issues like labour and the cost of living. The report also looked at recent policy and political actions that have influenced the poverty landscape of each province. 

Unfortunately, many provinces, including Alberta, did not fare well in the report. Alberta was tied for last among all provinces with a D- grade, down from the D Grade it received in 2023. 

According to the Poverty Report Card, Alberta received failing grades when it came to housing affordability and access to health care services. 

The province also failed when it came to examining poverty measures and food insecurity with the Market Basket Measure showing nearly 1 in 10 residents, or 9.7 per cent, live below the official poverty line. 

A screenshot of information from the Poverty Report Card (Food Banks Canada)(Food Banks Canada)

Regarding housing, Food Banks Canada reported that nearly 45 per cent of Albertans spend more than 30 per cent of their income on housing, which is up from the 34.8 per cent reported in 2023. 

The Okotoks Food Bank said it has seen this trend first-hand as demand for its services is growing. 

According to its April statistics, 140 families were helped through the Hamper Program in April 2024, up from 93 in April of last year. 

The Help Yourself Shelf Walk-in Program also saw a rise in number from 1,395 families in April 2023, to roughly 1,900 families in April of this year. 

Meanwhile, the Foothills Salvation Army said in a statement that clients who have accessed the Full Hamper program 32 per cent from 2022 to 2023. About 38 per cent were new clients. Last year, the Salvation Army Food Bank served 181,390 pounds of food.

"We are not able to do what we do without the support and help of our community thru people, groups, businesses donating and volunteering for us," said Community and Family Services Manager Shiela MacDonald. "We are very grateful to everyone who always thinks about us. As we always say to our clients who says thank you and most of the time teary-eyed when they get a hamper from us - it's not from us it's from our community."

Food Banks Canada said that since 2021, centres across the country have seen an increase in visits of more than 50 per cent.