November 27, 2017 8:01 pm
Updated: November 28, 2017 2:57 pm

City launches online tool to help Edmontonians access government benefits

City of Edmonton launches online tool "You Can Benefit" on Monday, Nov. 27, 2017.

Dave Carels, Global News
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The You Can Benefit online tool is intended to help Edmontonians easily access information on municipal, provincial and federal benefits.

Mayor Don Iveson unveiled the website on Monday.

READ MORE: Edmonton council gives go-ahead for plan to end poverty

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“Ending poverty is a community effort and this tool is an excellent example of the kind of meaningful engagement between our tech sector and the public sector that generates innovative solutions to help lift up all Edmontonians,” he said.

“Improving access to benefits is a powerful way to improve health and financial outcomes for individuals and families.”

You Can Benefit will help Edmontonians access more than 30 programs and 120 community services, such as the City of Edmonton’s Leisure Access Program and Ride Transit Program, the Alberta Child Care Subsidy and the Alberta Seniors Benefit. In 2016, nearly 100,000 Edmontonians were considered low-income.

The city said tax benefits can represent up to 40 per cent of total income for families on social assistance.

READ MORE: Task force releasing new tools in fight to end poverty in Edmonton 

You Can Benefit is a partnership between the City of Edmonton with End Poverty Edmonton, e4c and volunteers from BetaCityYEG.

“Through our e4c Make Tax Time Pay program, we have seen the positive impact government benefits have on the well-being of low-income households in our community,” e4c CEO Barb Spencer said.

“These benefits can strengthen the social, economic and cultural resources of a family and You Can Benefit directly enables more people in need to access these benefits. That’s our collective goal.”

You Can Benefit was designed using open-source data.

READ MORE: Weird and wonderful ways Open Data is unearthing Edmonton information 

For the past three years, Edmonton has secured the top spot as Canada’s most open city, in part thanks to its significant open data program.

“We are excited other cities and organizations can explore and redeploy this cutting-edge tool,” BetaCityYEG co-founder David Rauch said. “Ultimately, our aim is for this made-in-Edmonton model to have a positive impact locally and further afield.”

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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