Social workers in Alberta are calling on the province to make some significant changes to its taxation and spending policies in order to improve the quality of life for low and middle income earners.

The Alberta College of Social Workers commissioned the Parkland Institute to prepare a new Social Policy Framework looking at way's to improve the province's social infrastructure.

"In the report and in our work, we can see that the well-being of low and middle class Alberta has actually worsened in the last 20 years," said Bob Johnson, president of the A.C.S.W. "We are asking the Alberta government to reconsider the approach it has taken to help people get ahead because it is clearly not working for the majority of the population."

Among the findings of the report; wages for Albertans have not kept up with inflation and in some years, income levels for some people dropped. The study also found middle class Albertans increased their salaries by working more hours per year than their counterparts elsewhere across the country.

The province's flat tax, introduced in 2001, is costing the province more than $5 billion a year; according to the study.

The A.C.S.W. is calling on the province to introduce several new strategies it says will help close the disparity gap. It proposes increasing investment in more social programs and reinstating a progressive tax system.

"People are losing real opportunities to get ahead long term, no matter how hard they work, even during a boom. The recession has made things worse," said Johnson. "Providing Albertans a stable standard of living and quality of life is possible if we get serious about fixing our social infrastructure problems.

The entire report can be viewed at