Budget 2017 continues to build on the Alberta Jobs Plan to diversify our economy, support families and put Albertans to work. This plan sets the foundation for Alberta’s return to growth.
It’s also forward looking and supports sustained growth through investment in critical infrastructure and implementation of the Climate Leadership Plan. The plan has already resulted in decisions that expand market access for Alberta’s energy industry.
Budget 2017 is built on:
- Supporting changes to make life more affordable for Albertans
- Creating good jobs and building a diversified economy
- Protecting and improving the services and supports that make a difference in the lives of Albertans
Making life more affordable
The steep decline in oil prices has had a significant and enduring effect on families and the economy. During the province’s economic recovery, Budget 2017 will help make life more affordable for Albertans by:
- Reducing school fees for parents with children in the K-Grade 12 education system, including fees for instructional supplies or materials and transportation.
- Extending the tuition freeze in post-secondary institutions to a third year ensuring that education and training remain affordable.
- Ensuring stable and affordable electricity prices over the next 4 years through a rate ceiling of 6.8 cents per kilowatt hour.
- Helping Albertans reduce their carbon footprint and energy costs through the Energy Efficiency Alberta program, with an estimated $566 million in funding over 3 years to deliver a variety of programs and services for energy efficiency and small scale renewables.
- Providing carbon levy rebates to help low- and middle-income Albertans adjust to the carbon levy, with up to $300 for single adults, $450 for couples and $45 per child in 2018.
Creating good jobs and a diversified economy
In addition to the small business income tax reduction that was previously announced, Budget 2017 provides:
- Support for diversifying Alberta’s energy markets by seeking intervener status on any legal challenges to the Trans Mountain Pipeline and by continuing to work with the federal government and provinces on the Energy East proposal.
- $71 million for 2 tax credits to encourage investors to support small and medium sized companies and encourage business capital investments.
- Funding through Alberta Enterprise Corporation to spur innovation, growth and employment in areas such as clean technology.
- $13 million to attract and support new businesses and pursue regional economic development.
- $46 million for apprenticeship delivery and new training opportunities.
- $85 million to help Albertans build their basic foundational skills, including $80 million to help them attend programs such as English as a Second Language, skills and academic upgrading and occupational skills programs.
- The Petrochemicals Diversification Program provides up to $500 million in royalty credits to encourage investment in facilities to upgrade methane and propane to higher-value products such as propylene and polypropylene. Three facilities, with estimated capital costs approaching $6 billion, have been approved and will provide about 4,000 construction jobs.
Protecting and improving services
Budget 2017 provides stable funding for core public services that make a difference every day for Albertans, including health, education, income support programs and social services.
- $21.4 billion in 2017-18 keeps our commitment to provide long-term stable funding for health care including:
- $2 billion for home care and community care so seniors and Albertans with disabilities can access services such as nursing and personal assistance, day programs, respite relief, palliative care and wound care.
- Adding over 1,000 new continuing care beds for communities across Alberta.
- $8.2 billion continues our commitment to the K–Grade 12 education system, ensuring that Alberta’s children continue to benefit from a world class education system including:
- $500 million for 26 school projects including 8 brand new schools, 9 replacements of old ones and 7 modernizations to address enrolment growth and revitalize older schools.
- $213 million increase to fund enrolment growth and grants for First Nations students, English Language Learners and others with diverse learning needs.
- Funding to offset the loss of school fee revenue to ensure school boards can maintain or increase education programming for students.
- $6 billion for Advanced Education in 2017-18, keeping our commitment to provide stable, predictable funding for post-secondary education.
- Base operating grants for institutions will increase 2% per year, while accessibility and affordability for students continues with the third year of the tuition freeze.
- Renewal of $3.6 million to provide mental health support for post-secondary students.
- About $252 million for student financial assistance, including
- $96 million in scholarships for 54,500 students
- $56 million in grants for 16,400 students
- $4.4 million to support increased demand for the Alexander Rutherford Scholarship and $4.2 million for the Alberta Low Income Grant.
- $630 million for student loans to 81,300 students.
Employment and income supports
- $826 million for employment and income support, including $605 million for programs to help eligible Albertans cover basic costs of living and to find or maintain jobs.
- In addition, $257 million is allotted for adult and child health benefit programs.
- $31 million increase in Community and Social Services and Health to support unemployed Albertans during a challenging economic time.
- The newly established Ministry of Children’s Services creates an increased focus on ensuring Alberta’s children are provided with services and supports they need to thrive.
- Budget 2017 provides stable funding for the child intervention system and provides a solid foundation to strengthen the system.
- The Alberta Child Benefit provides $174 million in 2017-18 with up to $2,785 each year to Alberta’s most vulnerable families, in support of about 200,000 children.
- The Alberta Family Employment Tax Credit supports working families with children by providing a maximum annual credit of $773 for families with one child, and up to $2,038 for families with 4 children or more.
Support for the justice system
- $14.5 million to hire 35 crown prosecutors and an additional 30 court support staff—on top of the 15 Crown prosecutors currently being recruited – to help to address court pressures.
Investing in infrastructure
Budget 2017 continues the significant infrastructure investment started in Budget 2016. We’re committed to stimulating the economy, keeping people working and upgrading or expanding existing infrastructure.
The Capital Plan will support $29.5 billion in infrastructure projects over 4 years, including:
- $7.6 billion in municipal infrastructure support, including $4.8 billion under the Municipal Sustainability Initiative and $0.8 billion for GreenTRIP
- $4.7 billion for capital maintenance and renewal to ensure public facilities will continue to serve the needs of Albertans
- $3.8 billion for climate change and environmental sustainability
- $4.5 billion for health infrastructure including $400 million towards the planning and implementation of a new hospital in Edmonton, starting in 2018-19
- $3.1 billion for roads and bridges
- $2.6 billion for schools
- $754 million for post-secondary capital projects
- $100 million to support Albertans living on reserves who do not have reliable access to clean drinking water
Climate Leadership Plan
The Climate Leadership Plan is a made‑in‑Alberta strategy to reduce carbon emissions. The plan is tailored to the unique makeup of Alberta’s economy.
Several key aspects of the plan are moving forward:
- Implementing a new carbon price throughout the economy.
- Ending pollution from coal‑generated electricity by 2030.
- Developing renewable energy to supply 30% of generation by 2030.
- Limiting oil sands extraction emissions to 100 megatons per year.
- Reducing methane emissions by 45% below 2014 levels by 2025.
Budget 2017 maintains a focus on protecting the vital public services that matter to Albertans, like health care, education, income support programs and social services.
Managing operating expenses in a responsible way continues to be central to government’s plan to reduce the deficit year-over-year and return to balance.
The rate of growth for operating expenses will be:
- 2.2% in 2017-18
- 2.7% in 2018-19
- 2.7% in 2019-20
This is well below the projected rate of population growth plus inflation projected for Alberta, which is expected to average 3.3% in each of the next 3 years.
In addition to managing program spending, we will find in-year savings of $200 million in 2017-18 and 2018-19, and $100 million in 2019-20, reducing the operating expense base in future years.
Cost savings measures include:
- Reducing salaries of the highest paid CEOs of 23 provincial agencies to save $16 million per year
- Amalgamating or cutting 26 agencies, boards and commissions
- Freezing salaries of political staff and management in the Alberta Public Service and agencies boards and commissions
- Signing a new agreement with Alberta's doctors that will save $400 million this year