Alberta's deficit forecast at $18.2B in 2021-22

26 Février, 2021, 14:43 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Canada's Alberta sees budget deficit narrowing to C$18 bln as oil prices recover

"Tax increases are much more harmful than spending reductions", Toews said on February 25. Included in that funding will be $1.5 billion over three years for "strategic investments" in specific economic sectors, including technology, tourism, aviation, aerospace, pharmaceuticals, energy, financial technology and agriculture. The province is estimating a deficit of $18.2 billion in 2021-22, though that deficit should shrink to $11 billion next year and $8 billion the following year.

Total expense in 2021-22 is $570 million less than the forecast for 2020-21.

Since 2019, the Alberta government has promised it would bring public sector worker compensation to be more "in line" with other provinces like Ontario and B.C. "The Jobs Now program will be an important program that will provide on-the-job training for Albertans. The minister publicly-released the results of that review, but its implementation has been on hold while we have been focused on managing COVID-19", said Toews while presenting the budget to the legislature.

The medium-term outlook is for more red ink. This change is primarily due to rapid vaccine development, economic activity and demand for oil that is expected to follow.

The debt is now expected to reach $116 billion by the end of the fiscal year.

$3.1 billion will be spent on supporting the province's economic recovery.

Physician pay is estimated to cost the Health Ministry $5.2 billion, up from $5 billion in 2020-21, according to the budget.

The government will also invest more than $3.5 billion for continuing care, community care and home care programs and $140 million over four years to improve mental health and another $143 million over the three years for extra health-care facilities.

The budget includes no new taxes and new tax increases, though the de-indexing of personal tax exemption limits will continue.

The jobs program is a key plank in the UCP's 2021/22 economic recovery plan, as outlined in Thursday's budget.

The government will boost funding of health care by an additional $900 million. "Alberta's government will continue to support and invest in quality health care, both during and after the pandemic", said Health Minister Tyler Shandro.

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- Public sector compensation, excluding physicians, set at $21.5 billion.

Post-secondary institutions take a cut. The government said if the project does not proceed it will seek to recoup the funds.

Non-renewable resource revenues, the traditional foundation of Alberta's economy, are expected to bring in $2.9 billion, about half of what they were before the pandemic.

"Alberta is broke. And we aren't talking about darn-I-missed-a-cellphone-payment type broke".

"Over the past year, our Government has done what necessary to protect the health and financial security of those living in our province, and today's budget, centered around the very theme of Protecting Lives and Livelihoods, will reflect that. Now, it is time for the rest of the public sector to do the same", said Rosin.

In lieu of a path to a balanced budget, the government has introduced new "anchors" to guide fiscal decision-making, including keeping net debt to GDP under 30 per cent, getting per-capita spending in line with comparator provinces, and after the pandemic, re-establishing a commitment to balance the budget.

"We need to see leadership at the top, but instead the Premier's office is increasing its own budget by $2 million and that's unacceptable".

A government pledge to increase or maintain spending in some areas is happening, at least in part, at the expense of an ongoing mission to reduce the size of Alberta's public sector.

"I don't think too many Albertans are laying away at night wishing the Premier's office would increase its budget by $2 million", said Terrazzano.

"Taxpayers are struggling, and they need to see their tax dollars used more efficiently".

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