It’s Economic Development Week and we are celebrating the initiatives and successes that are contributing to Alberta’s strong and growing economy.
Reducing red tape is a key part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan to create jobs, diversify the economy, and strengthen the workforce with skilled workers in all sectors. Modernizing regulations, eliminating unnecessary requirements and reducing administrative burden help make Alberta an attractive place to invest and do business.
In fact, the more red tape we cut, the more we ensure our province is the destination of choice for investors. Our goal is to make Alberta the freest and fastest moving jurisdiction in North America by getting government out of the way so that our businesses can continue to invest and create jobs.
I’d like to outline some of the meaningful changes we’ve made to make it easier to invest, start a business and create jobs in Alberta.
Supporting diverse economic sectors
In 2020, the government established a competitive royalty rate for helium, helping to attract investment and create jobs. Several small producers have expressed an interest in exploring the helium potential in southeast Alberta, with some production already underway.
In the construction sector, aligning Alberta’s contract payment rules under the Builders’ Lien Act more closely with other provinces makes it easier for businesses that operate or wish to move across provincial borders. Aligning rules and regulations with other jurisdictions is key to attracting new businesses to Alberta.
Changes to the Film and Television Tax Credit program are attracting new players by removing a $10 million-per-project cap and increasing the program budget from $30.5 million to $50 million in 2021-22.
Since the program’s launch in January 2020, over 60 medium- and large-scale productions have applied for the tax credit. They’re expected to attract over $557 million in investment to the province and generate more than 11,500 direct and indirect jobs in urban and rural communities.
Fostering growth and supporting businesses
Businesses looking for government support can now apply for publicly funded programs and grants online 24/7. The digital process means information is safely stored so businesses can apply for multiple programs easily and quickly with the information from prior submissions.
Small businesses told us they wanted more flexibility when filing corporate income tax. So, we made changes to allow third-party representatives such as accounting firms to access corporate income tax accounts on behalf of their clients. This change saves time and money for firms by eliminating the reliance on outdated fax and mail submissions.
Working in partnership to revitalize communities
We’re also making it easier for other levels of government to reduce red tape in their communities.
Municipalities can now promote local economic growth through tourism and community revitalization by creating entertainment districts and designated public areas where adults may responsibly consume alcohol. We passed enabling legislation to give municipalities this option.
New legislation, if passed, would make it easier for businesses to operate across municipal lines. Inter-municipal business licences would allow small businesses to operate in multiple municipalities using an inter-municipal business licence. This would eliminate the need to apply for a licence in multiple jurisdictions.
Supporting these regional approaches to economic development will ensure municipalities play a larger role in growing their local and regional economies.
Help us cut red tape for Albertans and Alberta businesses
Since 2019, Alberta has eliminated more than 25% of the province’s regulatory requirements and implemented changes that have saved Albertans, job creators and the government more than $1.2 billion. In doing so, we’ve helped make Alberta a more attractive place to invest, start a business and help grow our economy.
There’s more work to do. If you have a suggestion about how to cut red tape, please share it with our team by visiting www.alberta.ca/cutredtape.
Congratulations to all of the economic development professionals who work tirelessly to help create a better Alberta – enjoy Economic Development Week!
Tanya Fir served as Associate Minister of Red Tape Reduction from July 8, 2021 to October 24, 2022.