Overview

Budget 2019: A Plan for Jobs and the Economy, focuses on three key priorities:

  1. Getting Albertans back to work
  2. Making life better for Albertans
  3. Standing up for Alberta

The budget includes moderate cuts to operating spending of 2.8% over four years ($1.3 billion lower than 2018-19 levels), compared to the nearly 20% cuts Albertans saw in the 1990s.

We are acting now to ensure we never have to deal with that scale of cutbacks again.

Fiscal plan and highlights

Complete Fiscal Plan (PDF, 7.5 MB)

Budget 2019 Highlights (PDF, 1 MB)

Getting back to work

The private sector is the engine of growth and job creation. This plan is built on broad-based tax relief and a sensible approach to legislation that supports job creation.

Supporting investment in Alberta

A strong economy will mean more jobs and higher paycheques for Albertans so they can take better take care of their families.

Our focus is on laying the foundation for sustainable economic growth and making Alberta one of the most competitive places to invest in North America.

  • Eliminated the carbon tax, saving the average family around $665 per year.
  • Reduce corporate tax rate from 12% to 8% by 2022 so businesses can grow and create more jobs.
  • Implement an enhanced capital cost allowance to support business investment and job creation.
  • Move to a low-rate, broad-based tax approach to encourage economic diversification.
  • Cut red tape from government processes, making it easier to invest in Alberta.

Investing in skills and training

A highly skilled workforce is critical to attracting industry and investment. Alberta needs to change the way it funds institutions that develop Alberta’s skilled workforce so it's more responsive to skills shortages and future labour market changes.

  • Alberta will move to a new post-secondary sector funding model, while lifting the tuition freeze.
  • Post-secondary institutions will be challenged to engage with industry to graduate the workers industry and business need.
  • Alberta will restore investor confidence by supporting research, innovation and commercialization to develop and advance talent, grow sectors, and leverage funding from partners and the private sector.
Chart showing breakdown of student supports
Chart breaking down capital cost supports

Making life better

Budget 2019 will ensure the quality and effectiveness of public services, especially in health, safety and education. This plan protects the vulnerable by maintaining strong public services, but introduces transformation that will deliver value for the money.

Living within our means

We have to be vigilant and spend only what we can afford. Otherwise, the interest on what we’ve borrowed will continue to limit our ability to fund public services like hospitals, continuing care centres and schools

Better and smarter public services

Funding for core social services will be maintained or increased. Programs will be redesigned methodically and responsibly to address economic, social and fiscal challenges, while continuing to support the most vulnerable.

  • Considerable support will be given to health services, including significant increases to support a mental health and addiction strategy, an opioid response, and palliative care.
  • Community and Social Services spending will be increased for programs that address human trafficking and sexual exploitation, while caseload pressure and programming will be reviewed.
  • A new Alberta Child and Family Benefit program will replace two current programs while providing increased support to low income families.
  • Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH), the Alberta Seniors Benefit, Income Support and Special Needs Assistance programs will remain at current levels.

$638 million for seniors and housing services to maintain overall seniors' benefits.

$1.6 billion/year for children's services, including a new child and family benefit (up 15% by 2022-23).

$3.9 billion/year for community and social services (7.6% increase)

$8.2 billion/year for education, maintaining current funding levels.

$20.6 billion/year to provide health services, including $100 million for mental health and addiction strategy, $40 million for an opioid response, and $20 million for palliative care.

Ministry highlights

For more detailed ministry budgets, download the complete Fiscal Plan (PDF, 7.5 MB).

  • Health

    We’re putting patients at the centre of Alberta’s health care system and improving access so all Albertans can get high quality health care when they need it.

    $20.6 billion for Health provides:

    • $100 million for a mental health and addiction strategy
    • $40 million for an opioid response strategy
    • $20 million for palliative care
    • $6 million for a new sexual assault hotline
    • $4 million ($1 million per year) for the Health Quality Council of Alberta

    We will continue to make careful, evidence-based decisions to help control costs while continuing to provide efficient, quality services to Albertans.

  • Education: Kindergarten to post-secondary

    As Alberta’s K-12 population continues to grow, our current funding model needs to adapt to better respond to more students, complex needs and growing costs. We’re also supporting post-secondary students by connecting them with industry, jobs and increasing support for the skilled trades.

    $8.2 billion for K-12 students to:

    • maintain funding and fund projected enrolment growth of 2.2%, about 15,000 new students
    • continue to build and modernize schools
    • protect core education services while we transition to a more sustainable funding model that contains cost growth and increases the share of funding going to the classroom
    • increase parents’ choice by increasing school boards’ ability to provide specialized educational services focused on students needs

    $5.1 billion for post-secondary students to:

    • support apprentices, including women by expanding the Women Building Futures program
    • help young Albertans demonstrate their skills on the national and world stage and participate in the Skills Canada National Competition
    • increase the amount of schools that work with CAREERS the Next Generation to 1,000 and quadruple the number of full-time apprentices from 1,567 to 6,000 by 2023
    • introduce new veterans and trades scholarships to help expand the skilled trades
    • encourage institutions to be less reliant on government funding so they generate more from tuition and other sources of revenue
    • transition to a new funding model that introduces performance based, at-risk funding that focuses on accountability, student service delivery and job creation
  • Social services

    We’re making life more affordable and protecting vulnerable Albertans by maintaining access to the vital services they need.

    $1.6 billion for Children’s Services to:

    • provide child intervention services to ensure at risk children, youth and families are safe and supported
    • consolidate the Alberta Child Benefit and the Alberta Family Employment Tax Credit into a new Alberta Child and Family Benefit to help protect the most vulnerable by giving more to those with the lowest income
    • support low income families by providing child care subsidies to help ensure their children have access to quality programs while they work or go to school
    • support prevention and earlier intervention to support safety, well-being and resiliency for children and youth and families at risk

    $3.9 billion for Community and Social Services to:

    • protect vital services for the most vulnerable – including children and adults with disabilities and survivors of domestic and sexual violence
    • support civil society organizations helping Albertans in their communities
    • increase community access for vulnerable families by supporting low-income transit pass programs in Alberta's two largest cities
    • maintain front-line services and supports to help Albertans get back to work
    • live within our means by suspending indexing of AISH and Income Supports, while the province gets back to balance

    $639 million for Seniors and Housing to:

    • continue to support seniors by maintaining funding for seniors benefits
    • develop new program delivery mechanisms to help accommodate growth in seniors programs
    • pursue partnerships with Housing Management Bodies and private sector to reduce the public costs of affordable house while still serving people in need
  • Agriculture, energy, environment and economy

    We’re supporting responsible resource development, standing up for our agriculture sector, combatting climate change with investments in technology, protecting jobs and improving investor confidence by making it clear that Alberta is the best place to do business.

    $879 million for Agriculture and Forestry to:

    • enhance service delivery to include on-farm/site visits and improved online service delivery
    • continue to fight the mountain pine beetle with an additional $20 million over 4 years
    • work with farmers, producers and industry to determine research priorities and build programs
    • introduce the “Fighting for Agriculture and Forestry” strategy to help strengthen consumer confidence and promote agriculture and forestry

    $601 million to Energy to:

    • increase focus on natural gas and pipelines by implementing a strategic plan to help reinvigorate the industry and stand up for Alberta’s economic interests
    • work with industry to help streamline project approvals, improve pipeline access and facilitate the construction of infrastructure to get our natural gas to international markets
    • review the Alberta Energy Regulator to identify changes and enhancements to its mandate, governance and operations so Alberta remains a predictable place to invest and a world leader in responsible resource development
    • extend the royalty credit model under the Petrochemicals Diversification Program to incent future projects and cancel the Partial Upgrading Program and Petrochemicals Feedstock Program to reduce the financial risk to Albertans
    • cancel the transition to a capacity market and end the rate cap program – saving Albertans about $270 million
    • cancel the crude-by-rail program, saving Albertans at least $300 million
    • establish the Canadian Energy Centre corporation to implement the “Fight Back Strategy” to proactively defend our critical energy industry and the people who work in it

    $610 million for Environment and Parks to:

    • implement the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) to help reduce emissions by focusing on large industrial emitters
    • use the TIER fund to help develop and implement new and improved technologies for oil sands extraction, research and investment to help reduce emissions over time and help energy-intensive facilities innovate to stay competitive
    • create a climate strategy that strikes the right balance between environmental protection and economic growth that doesn’t place an unnecessary economic burden on families
    • improve flood resilience by investing in community-level projects, upstream storage, healthy watersheds, flood mapping, river forecasting and emergency response and preparedness
    • support Alberta’s land trust program with an additional $20 million over 4 years
    • support accurate and scientifically sound environmental monitoring
    • increase delivery of scientific activities around oil sands monitoring through consolidation and investment in a environmental monitoring and science program dedicated to air, land, water and biodiversity

    $286 million for Economic Development, Trade and Tourism to:

    • attract large corporate investments that bring economic growth, prosperity and jobs
    • transform the screen-based production grants to a film tax credit to help support the film industry
    • increase investor confidence to make it clear that Alberta is the best place in the world to do business
    • expand Alberta’s technology sector by working with the innovation and venture capital community
    • support and accelerate research, innovation and entrepreneurship through post-secondary institutions, Alberta Innovates, Alberta Enterprise Corporation and Economic Development Trade and Tourism to grow globally-competitive enterprises in Alberta
    • invest in research, innovation and commercialization to develop talent, grow sectors, leverage funding from partners and private sector to help drive global investment
    • redirect $25 million a year to support responsible, dedicated investment attraction
    • build investments in technology, data and telecommunication strength and artificial intelligence

    $219 million for Labour and Immigration to:

    • implement the First Responders and Heroes Fund and Veterans commitments
    • develop the Alberta Advantage Immigration Strategy to accelerate the recognition of foreign credentials, including establishing the Fairness for Newcomers Office
    • review the Workers’ Compensation Act which includes all Workers’ Compensation Board entities
  • Indigenous relations, justice, municipalities, transportation and culture

    We’re supporting strong, vibrant communities and improving partnerships with Indigenous communities so they can fully participate in a prosperous, competitive and diverse Alberta.

    $190 million for Indigenous Relations to:

    • invest in Indigenous communities to create partnerships in defense of our shared economic interests
    • establish the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation to support Indigenous communities to partner in major natural resource projects and enjoy the benefits of Alberta’s resource economy
    • facilitate and backstop Indigenous investment in natural resource projects and infrastructure, including pipelines
    • support Indigenous communities defending their own economic development rights through the Indigenous Litigation Fund

    $1.45 billion for Justice and Solicitor General to:

    • begin modernizing the justice system through digitization by using electronic court records, allowing more traffic tickets to be paid online and modernizing court processes
    • hire more prosecutors to address pressures, including those in rural communities
    • begin investing in increased access to drug treatment courts
    • begin increasing Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams funding by up to $50 million over 4 years

    $240 million for Municipal Affairs to:

    • align spending by ensuring that funds provided to municipalities support provincial priorities
    • develop a new municipal funding framework that uses population estimates to better allocate funding
    • maintain current levels of funding support for libraries and carry through with the 2019-20 commitment to MSI

    $411 million for Transportation to:

    • maintain the provincial highway network to ensure that safety remains a top priority
    • support road and water management maintenance while finding ways to reduce costs through efficiencies
    • consolidate the delivery or traffic safety services and support the operations of the Transportation Safety Board
    • maintain the requirement of the Mandatory Entry Level Commercial Training for commercial drivers and the Pre-Entry Program for New National Safety Code Carriers
    • continue delivering road tests through the driver examiner program which is currently under review

    $218 million for Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women to:

    • transfer the film tax credit to Economic Development, Trade and Tourism to revitalize the film industry for long-term growth in support of Alberta jobs and the economy
    • consolidate Alberta Sport Connection programs and the function of its board to create cost savings and realize operational efficiencies
    • consolidate Alberta Historical Resources Foundation programs, including heritage grants, into government to save costs and realize efficiencies
    • maintain current funding to support Alberta’s Francophone community
  • Government services

    $538 million to Service Alberta to:

    • expand online services to include self-serve options that will automate procedures and reduce operating expenses
    • implement the Enterprise Resource Planning system to help reduce operational expenses and fund efficiencies
    • develop a corporate registry online user management to make it easier to interact with government and save money

    $460 million for Infrastructure to:

    • design, build, manage and maintain government-owned facilities
    • use facilities more effectively by increasing densities in government-owned and leased space
    • consolidate buildings and facilities and close underused buildings to help reduce costs

    $1.8 billion for Treasury Board and Finance to:

    • support the effective use of government financial resources, find savings and efficiencies and ensure that the most is being allocated to initiatives that support government’s priorities, create jobs and protect public services

Note: Ministry expense, unless otherwise stated, includes as applicable, operating expense, capital grants, amortization, inventory consumption and loss on disposal of capital assets. Some ministries also have funds under disaster assistance, debt servicing costs and pension provisions, which are not counted here.

Standing up for Alberta

Provinces hold the right to control and develop their natural resources and compete freely and fairly in the national and international economies. The plan relies on that right and invests in its protection.

Alberta’s contribution to Canada

Alberta contributes more, per person, to the national economy than any other province.

With only 12% of Canada’s population, Alberta attracts one quarter of all capital investment in the country and is responsible for more than one fifth of all Canadian goods exported.

This plan supports a number of actions that will drive economic growth in Alberta.

Alberta made a $22 billion fiscal contribution to the federal government in 2017.
What does that represent in federal programs and services?

Reviving the energy sector

Canada’s prosperity is closely tied to the strength of the Alberta economy. Improving market access for oil and natural gas is critical to the sustainability of Alberta’s, and Canada’s, economy.

This includes fighting misinformation, through the establishment of the Canadian Energy Centre, and supporting leaner and faster regulatory operations.

The Job Creation Tax Cut and the adoption of the Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance will make Alberta one of the most attractive places for energy investment in North America.

Budget 2019 also honours the current agreements under the Petrochemicals Diversification Program that provides royalty credits to companies in exchange for building facilities that turn propane, ethane, methane and feed stocks into products. We will be extending the royalty credit model to incent future projects.

Eliminating crude-by-rail

This costly, interventionist and unnecessary approach to market access will be ended. Alberta taxpayers will no longer face the significant risk associated with transporting and buying and selling crude specifically for this program.

Keeping our commitments to Albertans

Along with key commitments already identified, Budget 2019 will support fighting for Alberta’s energy, agriculture and predevelopment first nations.

Funds will also be used to support climate initiatives, law enforcement, rural crime reduction and the creation of a Heroes Fund and Veterans Scholarship.

Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) program to support climate change technologies

$20 million over four years to combat mountain pine beetle

50 new prosecutors and programs to reduce rural crime

Up to $50 million increase for law enforcement over four years

Key fiscal metrics

Budget 2019 - Key Fiscal Metrics (billions of dollars*)

chart of budget breakdown
Source: Treasury Board and Finance
*Numbers may not add due to rounding

Revenue

Total revenue is forecast to remain flat at $50 billion in 2019-20 and $50.1 billion in 2020-21, before increasing to $57.5 billion by 2022-23.

A modest but realistic oil price outlook, along with market access issues (e.g. pipelines), impede revenue growth over the next two years. This reality means spending reductions are necessary.

Policy changes, including the Job Creation Tax Cut, the carbon tax repeal, emissions reduction, post-secondary tuition increases and modest adjustments to fees are included in the forecast—as are reasonable assumptions regarding investment returns.

While the indexation of non-refundable tax credits and tax bracket thresholds will be temporarily paused, Albertans will continue to pay some of the lowest overall taxes in Canada.

Revenue forecasts (billions of dollars)

Revenue forecasts
Source: Treasury Board and Finance

Expense

Alberta spends almost $2,500 more per person on public services than other big provinces, but without better results. If we matched the average per capita, Alberta would spend $10 billion less each year.

We must now exercise restraint to bring spending to more affordable levels. The costs of delivering government services will be more in line with other provinces while we strive for better outcomes that Albertans deserve.

To bring the costs of Alberta’s public services closer to the national average, we will have to find more cost-effective ways (including private-public partnerships) to deliver services. Reducing red tape, streamlining processes, leveraging technology and consolidating administrative services is expected to save Albertans $140 million.

The total cut in operating expenses over 4 years is 2.8% in Budget 2019, compared to 18% in Budget 1993.

Spending compared to others (per capita per person)

Spending compared to other provinces
Source: Amounts for 2008-09 to 2017-18 are based on Statistics Canada data. Amounts for Alberta from 2018-19 onward are based on the amounts presented in the budget adjusted for Statistics Canada methodology. Expenditure for BC, ON, QC from 2018-19 onward were adjusted based on the percentage increase provided in each province's budget.

Deficit and debt

Transformational changes are needed to improve Alberta's fiscal situation and how it delivers services to Albertans. Our province spends more than all other provinces without better outcomes and it's time to get government spending in line.

The most important step in slowing, and ultimately reversing, Alberta's growing debt and interest cost is to balance the budget. Budget 2019 improves how Alberta's cash resources are managed.

Previously tax payer supported debt was forecast to rise to $97.1 billion by the end of 2022-23, and debt servicing costs were projected to rise tp $3.4 billion. Under the new fiscal plan, while debt servicing costs will continue to rise until budget deficits are eliminated, they will rise at a much slower pace. Taxpayer support debt is now forecast to be $93.3 billion at the end of 2022-23 and debt servicing costs are projected to be $3 billion during that year.

Once the deficit is eliminated, we will continue to be prudent and implement measures to pay down debt, as recommended by the MacKinnon Panel. We will not saddle our grandchildren with unnecessary costs because we did not address the fiscal challenges before us.

Taxpayer supported debt (billions of dollars)

Chart of Alberta's debt
Source: Treasury Board and Finance

More budget information

A summary of Alberta’s Budget 2019 economic forecast and analysis.

Revenue projections from taxes, transfers, investment income and resources.

Budget 2019 invests in the infrastructure families and communities need.

Budget 2019 reduces the tax burden on Albertans and Alberta businesses.