Alberta 2023 Budget: Securing Alberta’s Bright Future
As 2023 progresses, Canadians look to their governments for an annual plan that outlines how their economy, communities, and environment are faring, and how they will improve and grow in the months to come.
On February 28th, 2023, Alberta’s 2023 provincial budget was tabled by Travis Toews, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance. With a focus on balancing budgets, limiting operating expense growth, paying off maturing debt, saving for the future, and investing in Albertans, the Alberta 2023 budget, which totals up to $68.3 billion in expenses, is designed to address the province’s unique economic situation. This budget includes many funding announcements and updates for Alberta provincial grants, loans, and tax credit programs.
Annual budgets are a key indicator of provincial financial health and intentions. This budget expands on the pillars established in the Alberta 2022 Budget which (February 25, 2022) outlined the province’s goals for the coming months and how it planned to achieve them. It is critical for businesses operating out of Alberta to understand the economic impacts provincial budgets can have on business operations. In addition, significant government funding opportunities often arise from new programs announced in the budget, as well as increased contributionsfor existing government grants, loans, tax incentives, and more.
However, combing through these long and complex documents for specific information can be difficult. Therefore, this article highlights key sections of the budget that Albertan businesses should be aware of, and suggests actionable next steps those businesses can take to get the ball rolling with a government funding plan.
The main takeaways of the 2023 Alberta budget are:
- Hiring and Training Funding for Alberta’s Workforce;
- Reducing Emissions, Leveraging Natural Resources, and Building a Strong Infrastructure;
- Driving the Alberta Economy Forward;
- Ensuring an Efficient and Modern Healthcare System; and
- Tax Incentives.
Hiring and Training Funding for Alberta’s Workforce
On a provincial and global scale, Alberta continues to face challenges. As global economic pressures increase, international conflicts and labour shortages in critical industries continue to impact Alberta businesses. Barriers to entry and long-term unemployment are also ongoing obstacles in Alberta.
Last year’s Alberta’s 2022 budget introduced the Alberta at Work plan with the goal of providing learners, workers, and businesses with education, training, and career opportunities. By bridging skills gaps, reducing barriers to employment, and attracting new workers, Budget 2023 funding is focused on preparing Albertans for the future labour market:
- Alberta at Work will receive an additional $176 million in 2025-26 to address labour shortages in key economic sectors;
- The province will invest $95 million in Career and Employment Services to provide resources and tools to Albertans seeking employment;
- The government will invest $111 million more over the next three years to support targeted post-secondary enrollment expansions in sectors with the greatest demand, including non-trade construction, energy, technology, and business; and
- The Air Access Bursary provides $4.5 million over three years for high-demand aviation students.
Businesses in Alberta will see government funding opportunities that focus on upskilling workers and hiring new talent. The Alberta at Work initiative, implemented until 2026, is expected to receive continuous funding that could benefit businesses with projects to improve employee skills and fill talent gaps. Key areas will be in high-demand positions throughout the tech, energy, and general business sectors.
Interested in learning more about current government funding opportunities for hiring and training activities? Use the Hiring & Training Funding Directory to filter by region so you can find the best programs for your business.
Reducing Emissions, Leveraging Natural Resources, and Building a Strong Infrastructure
Natural resources play a significant role in Alberta’s economy. Therefore, Alberta’s 2023 budget includes large investments in new and existing programs to ensure the province is efficient and designed for long-term success. These programswill position Alberta to emit fewer carbon emissions, as well as implementing an infrastructure to last for years.
Investments to Strengthen Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction
Alberta’s Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) Regulation and Alberta Methane Emission Reduction Regulation protect the competitiveness of our major industries while establishing our role as a responsible energy supplier. As part of Alberta’s plan to manage emissions, the TIER Regulation is a system for pricing and trading carbon emissions in the industrial sector. All large industrial emitters are subject to the TIER Regulation, as are small oil and gas operations that voluntarily participate in the program. Around 60% of Alberta’s total emissions are covered by the TIER system.
Through programs delivered by key partners, such as Emissions Reduction Alberta, Alberta Innovates and the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre, Budget 2023 invests $800 million over three years to reduce emissions, support technology development, and create jobs and investment opportunities. Future carbon capture, utilization, and storage projects will be supported by an additional $387 million provided to the TIER Fund over the next five years.
Strengthening Alberta’s Infrastructure
- $2.3 billion for Alberta’s road and bridge network to support the growing economy. This infrastructure will be expanded and improved over three years; and
- Support rural and remote businesses with $369 million over three years through Alberta’s Broadband Strategy. Having access to broadband technology and internet access is key to remaining relevant on today’s technologically dependent economy.
For Albertan businesses, the primary attraction in this section of the budget is the $800 million investment to initiatives falling under the TIER umbrella. Funding programs and support services are provided by Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) and Alberta Innovates to help Alberta businesses implement innovative technology projects and upgrade infrastructure.
- Air Products’ clean hydrogen facility will receive $54 million more per year under the Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program starting in 2025-26
- Alberta Petrochemical Incentive Program (APIP) will receive $484 million over three years; and
- The Carbon Capture and Storage Initiative (CCSI) will receive $246 million over three years for the construction and operation of carbon-capturing, compression, and storage projects.
Is your business interesting in applying for streams under the ERA and Alberta Innovates initiatives? Get in touch with our team today to learn about government funding opportunities available to you.
Growing Alberta’s Agriculture Sector
Alberta is allocating resources towards the agricultural sector with nearly $1.1 billion to support agricultural production, rural communities, petrochemical development, and environmental sustainability. Many provincial grant, loan, and tax credit programs will be added to the list of active Alberta agribusiness funding programs. The goal is to ensure facilities can adopt environmentally friendly systems, as well as ensuring key industries are operating efficiently:
- $8 million in funding over three years for improvements and energy efficiency upgrades at agricultural facilities through the Agricultural Societies Infrastructure Revitalization program;
- The Agriculture Sector Strategy – Irrigation Projects program will receive $140 million in funding; and
- $53 million dollars are being allocated to the Irrigation Rehabilitation program to expand Alberta’s irrigated areas.
Businesses operating in the Agricultural sector in Alberta may see opportunities to retrofit their facilities for emission reduction. Significant funding is being allocated to position the province for a greener future.
Interested in learning more about how government funding can strengthen your agriculture business? Get your free copy of our Canadian Agri-Business Growth Guide to discover hundreds of useful links, statistics, resources, and funding programs you may be eligible for.
Driving the Alberta Economy Forward
Small businesses, communities, arts, and tourism will also see investments based on Alberta’s 2023 budget. Funding opportunities in these sectors are designed to accelerate programs that support culture, First Nations businesses, and communities looking to improve their facilities and tourist attractions.
Investing in Businesses
Corporations and large companies are attracted to Alberta due to its low corporate income tax rate.These companies create highly paid jobs and contribute to the province’s high standard of living. Albertans will benefit from improved competitiveness, increased investment, and more jobs supported by various business expansion grant, loan, and tax credit programs funded in Budget 2023.
- The Aboriginal Business Investment Fund will receive an increase of 50% to $23 million over three years;
- The Alberta Technology and Innovation Strategy is expected to receive $24.5 million in 2023-24;
- Rural business support and capacity-building initiatives will receive $10 million over three years;
- The Alberta Enterprise Corporation (AEC) will receive $687,000 in additional funding for the management of new fund investments and for the Start Alberta platform; and
- The Investment and Growth Fund will receive $15 million annually.
Investments in Communities and the Arts & Tourism Sectors
- The Film and Television Tax Credit will receive $100 million in increased funding over three years;
- $10 million will be allocated over two years for rural tourism investment programming;
- The Northern and Regional Economic Development program will invest $9 million over three years to support Alberta municipalities, indigenous communities, and non-profit organizations; and
- The Alberta Media Fund will receive $4 million in 2023-24 to meet the demand for Alberta-made, small-budget productions.
Is your municipality curious about funding opportunities that may be available? Visit our Funding for Municipalities Directory to find programs available in your region.
Ensuring an Efficient and Modern Healthcare System
The Alberta budget directs the province’s healthcare focus towards measures that will improve efficiency and reduce wait times. Investments surpass last year’s budget by nearly $1 billion, totalling approximately $24.5 billion to improve important healthcare services for Albertans.
Total Healthcare Infrastructure
- Infrastructural investments in healthcare totaling $4.2 billion over three years; and
- The Rural Health Facilities Revitalization Program will receive $105 million over three years, with $75 million in additional funding to support new capital projects in rural Alberta.
Revitalizing the Healthcare Workforce
Alberta is investing in the workforce necessary to improve services for Albertans. A key focus is on the Alberta at Work program, a multi-year initiative to develop worker skills and educate the next generation of healthcare professionals.
- Budget 2023 allocates $158 million to workforce planning so that Alberta can recruit and retain more healthcare professionals in 2023-24. This funding supports a comprehensive training program for nurses and physicians, as well as accelerates the acceptance process for immigrants trained in healthcare practices by removing unnecessary bureaucracy;
- The province will develop a targeted healthcare expansion and provide an additional $95 million over the next three years to alleviate the shortage of healthcare workers ;
- An Alberta Medical Association agreement will provide $250 million over four years for retention programs to support key professionals such as family physicians; and
- The Alberta Surgical Initiative Capital Program will provide $237 million over 3 years, including $120 million in new funding to support additional projects in AHS-owned facilities that will increase surgical capacity and reduce wait times.
The key opportunities for Albertan businesses in the healthcare section of the budget include capital investment,attracting foreign workers, and training grants. The Alberta Budget 2023 commits significant resources towards revitalizing healthcare facilities with their Rural Health Facilities Revitalization Program which funds construction, medical equipment purchases, and more.
Moreover, several important investments are made in Budget 2023 to improve access to surgery and reduce wait times by improving the healthcare workforce. New and expanded training grants and subsidizing measures will support these goals.
With no sales tax, payroll tax, or healthcare premium, Alberta continues to have a tax advantage over all other provinces. In addition to attracting and retaining skilled workers, low taxes are a critical component of Alberta’s plan to encourage investment and job creation.
- Alberta’s Budget 2023 offers corporations investing $10 million or more a non-refundable tax credit of 12% on eligible capital expenditures to build or expand agri-processing facilities in Alberta..
For a more in-depth review of significant tax changes from the 2023 Alberta budget, review the Ryan Canada’s Alberta budget tax alert.
Learn More About Government Funding in Alberta
The 2023 budget for the province of Alberta outlined many exciting opportunities for business growth with the support of 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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