As 2022 gets underway, Canadians look to their governments for an annual plan that outlines how their economy, communities, and environment are fairing, and how they will improve and grow in the months to come. Annual budgets are a key indicator of provincial health and intent. The 2022 budget for the Alberta Government was released on February 25, 2022, outlining the province’s goals for the coming months and how it plans to achieve them.
“The economic recovery in Alberta is firmly underway. Budget 2022 reflects the shift from providing the right supports when Albertans needed them most during the COVID-19 pandemic to government’s continued focus on economic growth and prosperity for all Albertans.“– Alberta Budget 2022
The main pillars for the Alberta 2022 budget touch on the following: investments in small business grants for Alberta and the economy, investments for improving jobs and skills development as the province emerges from the pandemic, and other provincial infrastructure and community initiatives.
Table of Contents:
- Investing in Jobs and Skills Development
- Investment in Infrastructure
- Investing in the Economy
- Investing in the Environment
- Investing in Healthcare
- Tax Incentives
Investing in Jobs and Skills Development
The Alberta 2022 budget will be further investing in jobs and skills development to achieve their Alberta 2030: Building Skills for Jobs strategy. This budget will be allocating $264 million for the following:
Investing in Skills Development
- $171 million for expansion and improvement in fields such as agriculture, technology, aviation, and more;
- $30 million for apprenticeship and certification programs;
- $30 million over three years for skilled training in the commercial driver sector, such as the Driving Back to Work Grant Program;
- $47 million for the improvement of training and education in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields;
- $8 million dollars for opportunities to reskill and upskill through micro-credentials;
- $64 million for the Labour and Immigration department to develop skills and training opportunities for new and existing Albertans, via new funding for the Canada Alberta Job Grantor theTraining for Work Programs; and
- $5 million for specialized skills training to First Nations peoples.
Alberta at Work Initiative
- $600 million over three years through the creation of the Alberta at Work Initiative (AWI) to improve post-secondary education programs and employment opportunities,
- $58.5 million towards a University of Calgary Veterinary Medicine Expansion to address the skilled labor shortage of large animal veterinarians in Alberta,
- $15 million for programs to improve the collection and dissemination of labour market statistics and information, and
- $30 million over three years to address barriers to employment.
“Alberta recognizes the need to create pathways to success for all Albertans, wherever they are on their career path. Budget 2022 will make an incremental investment of over $600 million over the next three years on Alberta at Work to help create these pathways.“– Alberta Budget 2022
Investment in Infrastructure
The 2022 budget will be allocating the following amounts over the next three years to improve Alberta’s economic growth and jobs creation:
- $1.5 billion for the First Nations Development Fund Grant Program to support over 5,000 projects related to improving the economy, as well as social and community development among First Nations, and
- $15 million for the Aboriginal Business Investment Fund to support community projects for growth and productivity.
- $320 million for high-speed internet access to all Albertans with the goal of increasing connectivity across communities and improving productivity, and
- $300 million for Alberta Broadband Strategy to bring high-speed internet to underserved communities, such as rural and Indigenous communities via the Universal Broadband Fund (UBF).
- $1.8 billion for Roads and Bridges to improve critical provincial transportation,
- $4 million for the Designated Industrial Zone Pilot (DIZ) project to improve air and water quality and attract private sector investment, and
- $41 million towards the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology’s John Ware Building Redevelopment project.
Investing in the Economy
The Alberta 2022 budget is directing more focus towards growing the economy and key industries in Alberta as the province begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The budget emphasizes Alberta small business grants that are sector-specific support, such as agriculture, natural resources, and more.
Agriculture and Food
Budget 2022 highlights the following investments for the agriculture sector:
- $750 million over the next three years to improve agriculture in Alberta by funding new resource projects and directing the industry towards environmental sustainability;
- Agri-food Sector Investment and Growth Strategy will aim to attract $1.4 billion in new investments and create at least 2,000 new jobs in the sector by 2024;
- $37 million in 2022 for results-driven agriculture research to improve productivity output, drive innovation, and remain competitive on the global scale;
- $116 million over three years for Alberta’s irrigation systems and technologies to improve and expand the province’s irrigation capabilities; and
- $21 million by 2025 towards the Watercourse Crossing Programs which provide financial assistance in the form of grants for municipalities. These grants help financing and planning costs associated with improving roadway crossings that are impeding fish habitats.
- $272 million for the Alberta Petrochemical Incentive Program (APIP) which is designed to attract investment to the petrochemical sector with the intent to grow Alberta’s presence on the global scale and diversify the economy,
- $10 million over two years for the Clean Hydrogen Centre of Excellence with the goal of improving hydrogen technology through innovation, and
- $2 million for the installation of a Pressure Reaction Tower (PRT) system which will provide competitiveness and opportunities for capitalizing on the growth of agricultural fibres.
Arts, Culture, and the Community
- $26 million will be invested in the development of artists and the art community through the Alberta Foundation for the Arts,
- An undisclosed amount of increased support for the Alberta Film and Television Tax Credit to stimulate the film industry in Alberta,
- An undisclosed amount of increased support for the Innovation Employment Grant (IEG) to stimulate innovation via companies, who may receive a grant of up to 20% toward qualifying research and development expenditures, and
- A new stream created with the Investment and Growth Fund (IGF) to supply rural funding for innovation.
Investing in the Environment
The Alberta 2022 budget will be allocating $698 million over the next three years to Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) projects. The goal is to implement new programs and initiatives to support job creation, reduce overall emissions from the province, and help communities and businesses adapt to climate change.
Investing in Healthcare
The Alberta provincial government has focused on improving healthcare for communities via new pharmaceutical benefits and facility investments. The government is also investing in measures that can assist Albertans as the province begins to transition out of the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has caused over the past several years.
- Over $2 billion for drug programs and healthcare benefits, and
- $90 million to incentivize family physicians and other healthcare services to establish practices in rural or remote communities.
Responding to COVID-19
- $750 million in expenses related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as costs associated with addressing surgeries and procedures that have been backlogged, and
- $133 million in Alberta Surgical Initiative Capital Program to address the capacity and equipment concerns with delayed surgeries due to the lack of resources and lockdown measures for the global pandemic.
Investing in Mental Health and Addiction Services
- $20 million will be added to the province’s previous $140 million (over a four-year period) investment in mental health and addiction services. The goal is to address serious concerns over increasing mental health rates in depression, anxiety, and more, as well as to address addictions; and
- $35.8 million will be allotted towards Stream 2 of the Recovery Communities project, which aims to further address mental health and addiction with supervised consumption services and more.
With no sales tax, payroll tax, or health premium, Alberta continues to have a tax advantage over all other provinces. In addition to attracting and retaining skilled workers, low taxes are an important component of Alberta’s plan to encourage investment and job creation.
For a more in-depth review of significant tax changes from the 2022 Alberta budget, review the Ryan Canada’s Alberta budget tax alert.
In 2022, amendments are expected to be made to the Tourism Levy Act which will require all online accommodation marketplaces to participate in collecting and remitting the tourism levy on behalf of Alberta short-term rental providers. Short-term rentals are subject to sales taxes in a similar fashion to other Canadian provinces and territories.
Learn More About Government Funding in Alberta
The 2022 budget for the province of Alberta has outlined many great opportunities for growth and support from government funded programs and initiatives. To learn more about current government funding opportunities for businesses in Alberta, visit our Western Canada Funding Directory. To stay up to date on new government funding programs and updates, sign up for our free newsletter today.
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