County improves access to recreation and transit subsidies

July 6, 2022

County improves access to recreation and transit subsidies

Strathcona County Council passed a motion on June 28 to increase the income thresholds for municipal subsidies, providing more residents with access to key services such as transit and recreation.

Yesterday, Council approved Family and Community Services’ updated User Fees, Charges and Subsidies Policy, which now reflects the changes.

"As a Council, we recognize many people are facing tough times. Access to recreation and transit can make a big difference for kids, youth, families and seniors in our community. It's important that we make those services even more accessible," says Mayor Rod Frank.

Before Council’s decision, the income eligibility for municipal subsidies was set at the low income cut-off (LICO), an income threshold established annually by the federal government. Families below that threshold are likely to spend more of their income on necessities such as food, shelter and clothing than the average family. The new income eligibility thresholds in Strathcona County are now set at LICO plus 30 per cent.

The County’s Solutions Navigation team (who supports access to subsidies) found that residents reporting financial issues as a top need doubled from 2019 to 2022. Data from recent engagements, frontline services, community partners and other municipalities all indicate that using LICO alone as a threshold to qualify for subsidies is insufficient. The new income thresholds allow more residents in need to access subsidized transit and recreation.

The updated Strathcona County eligibility requirements are now in effect, ensuring more residents can access the Everybody Rides and Everybody Gets to Play programs. Everybody Rides provides local and commuter monthly transit passes at a discounted rate, and Everybody Gets to Play offers access to County recreation facilities through a no-cost, annual Active Pass+.

To learn more, visit strathcona.ca/AffordableServices. To explore subsidy options and other supports, call Family and Community Services at 780-464-4044 or visit their office on the second floor of the Community Centre (401 Festival Lane, Sherwood Park).

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Contact: Strathcona County Communications, 780-410-6595