The fall session started on Oct. 25 with the government introducing the Labour Mobility Act to knock down employment barriers and attract more skilled professionals to Alberta.
This was followed by several large investments totalling $10 billion that will create more than 16,000 new jobs, including the largest ever investment in Alberta’s technology sector from Amazon Web Services.
Alberta’s government also secured a deal on child care that will cut daycare fees for Alberta families in half, on average, starting in January 2022.
The second quarter fiscal update showed one of the most dramatic improvements to provincial finances in Alberta history, with a stunning $12.4-billion decrease in the deficit.
The fall also saw Albertans come together to beat back the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, with case counts declining and pressure easing on hospitals.
The session ended with government MLAs passing a motion expressing solidarity with the 20 First Nations band councils and the communities situated along the Coastal GasLink Pipeline route that wish to benefit from the jobs and prosperity that project would create.
“Throughout the fall session, Alberta’s government was laser-focused on making sure every Albertan can take part and benefit from our economic recovery and growth. Alberta remains poised to lead Canada in economic growth and we head into the Christmas break with plenty of reason for optimism for our future.”
“Alberta’s legislature has passed legislation that will strengthen Alberta’s workforce, diversify the economy, build for the future, grow our resources and help everyday Albertans all while protecting lives and livelihoods as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.”
While economists and researchers have downgraded economic projections for all provinces over the past several months, many forecasters, including the Conference Board of Canada and several major banks, predict that Alberta will lead the nation in economic growth into 2022.
Alberta has recovered all of the jobs lost since the start of the pandemic. According to the November jobs report, the province gained 15,000 jobs in November alone. Overall, the unemployment rate is forecast to average 8.8 per cent this year, down from 11.4 per cent in 2020. It is forecast to drop to 5.7 per cent in 2024.
In addition, new operating grants and subsidies for facility-based child-care programs will start in mid-January 2022. This means more affordable child care for Albertans enrolled in licensed child-care facilities, especially those who need it most. It will reduce fees by half, on average, by early next year, and to an average of $10 per day by 2026.
During the fall sitting, Alberta’s government passed numerous bills that fulfil promises on affordable housing, conserving our environment and bringing more transparency to infrastructure spending.
Fall legislation highlights
- The Labour Mobility Act knocks down employment barriers, making it easier for skilled professionals to come to Alberta.
- The Infrastructure Accountability Act brings transparency to the capital planning process for taxpayer-funded infrastructure.
- The Municipal Government (Restoring Tax Accountability) Amendment Act restores a special lien that municipalities can use to collect unpaid oil and gas taxes.
- The Alberta Housing Amendment Act provides more transparency on affordable housing, as promised.
- The Election Statutes Amendment Act (No. 2) bans foreign money from Alberta politics and establishes a set election date.
- The Mineral Resource Development Act modernizes Alberta’s regulation of critical and rare earth minerals.
- The Environmental Protection and Enhancement Amendment Act helps take the burden off municipalities and taxpayers for the cost of recycling.
- The Education Statutes (Students First) Amendment Act will increase student safety by providing more transparency and accountability in teacher discipline matters.
Motions passed in the chamber
- Government Motion 101 recognizes results of the referendum on equalization and directs Alberta’s government to take all necessary steps to secure a fair deal for Alberta in the Canadian federation.
- Government Motion 103 calls upon the Prime Minister to respect the democratic decision of Albertans by recommending two of these nominees be summoned to the Senate of Canada to fill Alberta’s two vacant seats.
- Government Motion 104 unequivocally condemns incitements of violent eco-terrorism and any comments calling for the intentional destruction of energy infrastructure. It also supports the economic interests of Indigenous Peoples to benefit from resource development.