Alberta’s Recovery Plan details the province’s economic strategy, including a record $10-billion investment in infrastructure and a plan for 50,000 jobs this year.
Following the initial economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented crash in oil prices, the Government of Alberta is stepping forward with a plan to address both the short-term and long-term challenges facing our province. It is a plan to create jobs now that will set Alberta on a path for ecomonic growth, diversification and renewal for the future.
“Albertans have risen to the challenge of the pandemic, though we will continue to be careful, especially for those who are most at risk. Now we must extend that same culture of resilience to overcoming the greatest economic challenge of our time. Today, we take a big step forward in that journey with the launch of Alberta’s Recovery Plan, a bold, ambitious long-term strategy to build our province, to diversify our economy, and to create jobs,” explained Premier Jason Kenney.
Alberta’s Recovery Plan includes the many government relief programs that we have put in place to support Albertans and Alberta job creators through the COVID-19 pandemic. It also builds on strategic investments already underway, including the Keystone XL pipeline and $1 billion in accelerated Capital Maintenance and Renewal funding, which are putting thousands of Albertans to work this summer. The plan will continue under three main pillars: creating jobs, building infrastructure that will spur economic growth, and continuing to diversify our economy.
Building: Investing in Infrastructure
This year Alberta will see the largest ever investment in the province’s infrastructure, with $10 billion being spent on projects in every corner of the province, creating 50,000 jobs. Government is taking unprecedented actions to create immediate jobs in ways that build communities for a bigger, brighter future and support long-term private sector job creation.
Workers will be getting back on the job of building facilities, repairing roads and preparing Alberta to be stronger than ever.
In a major new initiative, the government will launch a series of large-scale infrastructure projects this summer at a total cost of $612 million. These projects are designed to create at least 2,500 jobs and the projects have been chosen to improve long-term economic growth and to encourage investment across the province.
These strategic projects will be spread across every region of the province, and will include the twinning of highways, projects that support growth in the agricultural sector, gas line extensions for northern residents, treatment facilities for Albertans recovering from addictions, and other important projects. The projects announced today will be followed by more projects announced in the coming months that will drive economic expansion and provide a legacy that will benefit our province for decades to come.
Strong economic fundamentals are reinforced in Alberta’s Recovery Plan with the immediate acceleration of the Job Creation Tax Cut. On July 1, the corporate income tax rate dropped to eight per cent – a year and a half sooner than promised. Government is also doubling down on its commitment to reduce red tape by ensuring government processes and regulations in the province do not constrain growth.
“The Job Creation Tax Cut is essential to Alberta’s recovery, ensuring our province has a competitive tax regime for job creators. When Alberta’s corporate income tax rate hits eight per cent, British Columbia’s corporate income tax will be 50 per cent higher at 12 per cent. As employers work to recover from COVID-19 they can be confident that Alberta will be the best place in Canada – by far – to locate, bringing with them jobs and prosperity,” said Travis Toews, president of the treasury board and Minister of Finance.
Innovation Employment Grant
We are also introducing an Innovation Employment Grant targeted to smaller companies and encouraging technology and investment in Alberta. It will provide a refundable tax credit to companies that invest in research and development, leaving them more money to employ Albertans in areas of innovation. With the Innovation Employment Grant, Alberta-based companies will have a competitive advantage at every stage in their development. During pre-income and scale-up phases, companies will benefit from this program, and as they become profitable and no longer qualify for the grant, they will benefit from the Job Creation Tax Cut.
Putting Albertans first
We will put Albertans, including recently arrived new Canadians, first for available jobs by asking the federal government to remove most occupational categories under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program for Alberta. At the same time, we will help employers connect with unemployed Albertans, making job training programs more responsive, and accelerating the Fairness for Newcomers Action Plan to put new Albertans who are already here to work faster in jobs that reward their skills and training.
Due to the impairment of international travel, and the deep jobs crisis, government will also reduce by at least one-third this year’s targeted admissions under the Alberta Immigration Nominee Program, while moving ahead with key platform commitments like the Foreign Graduate Startup Visa Program to support growth in the tech and innovation sectors. This reflects evidence that newcomers who arrive during economic recessions do less well economically in the short term and for the rest of their careers. When economic conditions improve and employment rises, we will return to previous levels.
Supporting arts and culture
We will create a Cultural Event Relaunch Program to support music, performing arts and landmark events which have been especially hard-hit by public health measures. This program will help those events which may relaunch in the summer address physical distancing requirements, or relaunch as strong as ever in the next season. The government has also committed to growing Alberta’s cultural industries by 25 per cent to $1.5 billion in the next decade.
Funding for strategic projects is supplemented by increased funding for municipal programs.
In addition to the $50 million announced for municipalities through the Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Program (STIP) to fund bridge improvements, upgrades to roads and community airports and other initiatives and a further $150 million for water infrastructure grants through the Alberta Municipal Water/Wastewater Partnership, we have identified up to $500 million in further funding for municipalities, funding we expect will be matched by Ottawa. Even before the federal contribution, this represents an increase to municipal infrastructure funding of almost 30 per cent in the current fiscal year.
It is estimated this new $500 million will support the creation of at least 2,500 jobs – immediate new jobs for projects that support people in the communities where they live, and drive future economic growth in the province.
Diversifying the economy:
Alberta’s Recovery Plan will focus on sector strategies for diversifying the economy. Building on our advantages in energy, agriculture, technology and tourism, these strategies will serve to support growth in other high-opportunity sectors such as value-added petrochemical manufacturing, minerals, including rare earth minerals, pharmaceuticals, the financial sector, logistics and aviation. The details of these sector strategies will be announced this summer and fall.
Government is also announcing its commitment to diversification through a re-capitalization of the Alberta Enterprise Corporation (AEC). Government is investing $175 million over the next three years in capital funds that support the technology sector in Alberta.
Government is establishing a new investment agency to help restore economic growth, create jobs, and diversify our economy.
The Invest Alberta corporation will boost investment attraction efforts in key markets with major partners around the globe. It will increase investment in Alberta’s primary industries – energy, agriculture, and tourism and encourage investment in our high-potential sectors, such as technology, aviation and aerospace, and financial services. Government has allocated $6 million a year over three years for its operations.
This funding is part of the $75 million allocated to implement the Investment and Growth Strategy over the next three years to rebuild Alberta’s reputation as a destination for business and investment.
“Altogether, this plan represents a bold statement of confidence in the future of Alberta. It is based on common sense, not ideology. It balances targeted government spending in areas like job-creating infrastructure with strong incentives for private sector growth, like the accelerated Job Creation Tax Cut and the expanded Red Tape Reduction initiative. It ensures a future for our largest industry – oil and gas – while boosting diversification in key growth sectors, like tech and innovation through the new Innovation Employment Grant, and the Alberta Enterprise Corporation,” added Kenney.