Budget 2021 continues to support children, families, seniors and vulnerable Albertans. The government is also helping businesses and getting Albertans back to work. The budget will protect lives and livelihoods during the pandemic, while also driving long-term economic recovery. Additionally, Alberta has by far the lowest overall taxes in Canada. By keeping taxes low during this difficult time, the government is leaving more money in the hands of Albertans to help with the recovery.
Read the complete Budget 2021 Fiscal Plan (PDF, 6.0 MB)
Budget 2021 invests record funding in health care
Alberta’s government is increasing Health’s budget by over $900 million (or 4%) to $23 billion, and that’s excluding the impact of COVID-19.
- $5.4 billion for physician compensation and development (including academic medicine)
- $3.5 billion for community care, continuing care and home care programs, including $20 million over 4 years for palliative and end of life care
- $1.9 billion for drugs and supplemental health benefits.
- $34 million for children’s health supports to expand mental health and rehabilitation services for children and youth
- $140 million over 4 years for mental health and addiction services
Continuing the fight against COVID-19
Budget 2021 invests in continued supports to protect Albertans as we enter the second year of the pandemic.
- $1.25 billion COVID-19 Contingency to address health-care costs for responding to the pandemic, including surgical wait times and backlogs
- This is in addition to $2.1 billion spend in 2020-21
Getting health care back on track
Budget 2021 invests $16 billion for Alberta Health Services operations. Includes:
- Alberta Surgical Initiative
- Continuing Care Capacity Plan
- CT and MRI Access Initiative
Investing in health care capital
Budget 2021 commits $3.4 billion over 3 years for health related capital projects and programs, providing:
- $2.2 billion for health facilities, with $143 million for 5 new projects
- $766 million for Alberta Health Services self-financed capital, for parkades, equipment and other capital requirements
- $343 million for capital maintenance and renewal of existing facilities
- $90 million for health department IT projects
Paving the way for jobs and investment
Alberta’s Recovery Plan is a bold strategy to create jobs that get people back to work, build infrastructure and diversify our economy. This includes the acceleration of the Job Creation Tax Cut, which creates employment opportunities by making Alberta one of the most attractive jurisdictions in North America for new business investment. Budget 2021 will spend an additional $3.1 billion in 2021–22 to continue supporting recovery plan strategies.
Building infrastructure to create 90,000 new jobs
Budget 2021 invests $1.7 billion more in capital funding in 2021–22 than what was planned in Budget 2020.
The 3-year Capital Plan now totals $20.7 billion and will support more than 50,000 direct and 40,000 indirect jobs through to 2024.
Diversifying the economy
In 2021–24, $1.5 billion invested in Alberta’s Recovery Plan.
Budget 2021 invests in established and emerging sectors that hold the greatest potential for growth and job creation, and are fundamental to our economic recovery including: energy; agriculture and forestry; tourism; finance and fintech; aviation, aerospace and logistics; and technology and innovation.
Economic recovery spending highlights
- Innovation Employment Grant supports small and medium-sized businesses that invest in research and development
- Developing framework to protect intellectual property in Alberta
- Investment and Growth Strategy supports emerging sectors while building on our existing strengths
- Invest Alberta provides supports and services to drive up investment and showcase Alberta as the best place in the world to do business
A careful approach to spending
Budget 2021’s responsible approach to spending will mean more investment in priority areas like health care, education and job creation.
Sound fiscal anchors
Budget 2021 is built on 3 fiscal anchors:
- Keep net debt below 30% of GDP to help protect future generations from rising debt servicing costs.
- Deliver services more cost effectively by bringing spending in line with other comparator provinces.
- Re-establish a plan to balance the budget post-pandemic when a more stable level of predictability returns to the budgeting process.
Getting back on track
- In 2021–22, operating expense is $1 billion higher than 2020–21 forecast and begins to normalize, remaining relatively flat over the next 2 years.
- $18.2 billion deficit is targeted for 2021–22, $2 billion less than the 2020–21 forecast.
- $11 billion and $8 billion deficits are targeted for 2022–23 and 2023–24 respectively.
Declining deficit can be attributed to decreasing expense as:
- the costs of the pandemic subside
- the government works to streamline and modernize service delivery
- revenue increases as the economy recovers
Budget 2021 funding highlights
Budget 2021 provides funding of:
- $23 billion for health services
- $8.2 billion operating expense for kindergarten to grade 12 (K to 12) education services
- $6.3 to $6.4 billion operating expense for social services ministries
- $136 million over 3 years for the Alberta Jobs Now program
- $166 million over 3 years for the Innovation Employment Grant
- $500 million in 2021–22 for additional investments in economic recovery
Alberta's 3-year fiscal plan continues to support those who need it most.
Health care workers and patients
Budget 2021 provides a record total of $23 billion for health care. Excluding COVID-19 spending, Health’s budget has increased by about $900 million or 4% from last year. There’s also an additional $1.25 billion available for the COVID-19 response, and to help address surgical wait times and backlogs caused by the pandemic. Strategic priorities such as the Alberta Surgical Initiative, Continuing Care Capacity Plan, and CT and MRI Access Initiative are expected to get back on track this year.
Additional financial support for businesses severely impacted by the pandemic and public health restrictions will be available starting in mid-April. The Enhanced COVID-19 Business Benefit will provide payments of up to $10,000 to eligible small and medium businesses most affected by the pandemic and ongoing public health restrictions.
The Alberta Jobs Now program provides $180 million to help private and non-profit businesses create good jobs, while also giving Albertans the skills they need to find employment. Employers can apply for funding to help cover the costs of hiring and training new workers.
Researchers and creators
The Innovation Employment Grant supports small and medium-sized businesses that invest in research and development in the early stages of operations. Alberta’s government is developing a framework to protect intellectual property in Alberta so ideas created in Alberta can be turned into businesses and jobs.
Farmers and growers
As part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan, the government aims to attract $1.4 billion in investment, creating more than 2,000 jobs in emerging sectors like hemp, agri-technology and value-added processing. Alberta, along with Canada Infrastructure Bank and 8 irrigation districts, have partnered to invest $815 million in irrigation infrastructure to support economic recovery.
Oil and gas workers
Budget 2021 provides continued support for the oil and gas Site Rehabilitation Program, which provides grants to service contractors.
Also, the Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program offers grants for companies investing in new or expanded market-driven petrochemical facilities. Alberta’s suite of energy strategies will maximize value from hydrocarbons, capitalize on emerging opportunities and improve competitiveness in the oil and gas industry.
Working parents of young children
A very important piece to Alberta’s recovery and getting Albertans back to work is child care. Budget 2021 includes a $56 million increase for a total of $345 million in 2021-22 to the Alberta Child and Family Benefit, which helps Alberta families get the support they need to join and remain in the workforce.
Budget 2021 provides operating expense of $8.2 billion for kindergarten to grade 12 education. The funding is being maintained, as promised, to help Albertans reach their full potential. Alberta’s government will also invest $99 million in COVID-19 pandemic support, ensuring the safe return to school and providing critical worker benefits to low-income workers in the education system.
Government will continue to enhance post-secondary education in the province by implementing the Alberta 2030: Building Skills for Jobs initiative which will ensure students are prepared for the job market after they graduate. This transformational project will help get Albertans back to work, meet current and future labour market demands, and make Alberta competitive in a 21st century global economy.
Seniors living in congregate care settings
Seniors’ lodges received an additional $30 million in 2020-21 to support them in meeting COVID-19 related public health orders. This will help cover personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies as well as additional staffing costs.
Performers and athletes
The Stabilize Program supports music, performing arts and landmark cultural events that have been hard hit by public health measures. The program will provide up to $22 million in 2020-21 and $15 million in 2021-22 to sports teams, leagues and organizations that own and/or operate live venues. This funding will help offset financial losses due to cancelled activity and empower sports and cultural organizations to explore new operating models.
Persons with disabilities
More budget information
A summary of Alberta's Budget 2021 economic forecast.
Revenue projections from taxes, transfers, investment income and resources.
Budget 2021 invests in the infrastructure families and communities need.
Summary of government spending according to Budget 2021.