Alberta Budget 2024-25 Summary

Last week, Alberta Finance Minister Nate Horner tabled Alberta’s 2024 Budget which includes more than $70 billion in spending, and a surplus of almost $400 million. The Budget is being described as restrained as it balances investments with the governing UCP’s commitment to fiscal responsibility.

Overview

The Budget includes investments in healthcare, education and clean technology. It also lays out the province’s capital investments. The Budget is divided into section including: strengthening the province’s health care and education, build safe and supportive communities, manage the province’s resources wisely and promote job creation to continue to build Alberta’s competitive advantage.

Healthcare

Alberta’s 2024 Budget invests in its healthcare system which is undergoing major changes under the UCP. The province states it prioritizing the delivery of high-quality, reliable health services across the province.

 

Improving Services

  • $475 million to support the continued implementation of the Modernizing Alberta’s Primary Health Care System.
  • $300 million for Primary Care Networks to provide additional support for collaborative primary health-care services
  • $8 million allocated over 2 years to expand the Alberta Newborn Screening Program
  • $10 million to support the development of a province-wide midwifery strategy
  • $10 million over 2 years allocated to the Alberta Women’s Health Foundation Legacy Grant in Edmonton and $10 million to the Calgary Hospital Foundation, to support women’s health initiatives
  • $140 million per year over 3 years for the yet-to-be signed, Federal Bi-Lateral Aging with Dignity Agreement, which includes $70 million for long-term care initiatives and $70 million for home and community care initiatives
  • $1 billion over 3 years to transform the continuing care system in response to the Facility-Based Continuing Care Review
  • $1.55 billion total expense to continue building the Alberta Recovery Model and ensure anyone suffering from the deadly disease of addiction or facing mental health challenges has an opportunity to pursue recovery

 

Prioritizing patients

The province is also investing in measures to reduce wait times and improve access.

  • $3.6 billion over 3 years in capital funding to maintain or expand health-care facilities throughout the province including:
    • $810 million to advance the redevelopment and expansion of the Red Deer Regional Hospital, including Ambulatory Services
    • $35 million to purchase new Emergency Medical Services vehicles and ambulances, upgrade the existing fleet and acquire additional equipment
    • $25 million in additional funding for the Beaverlodge Municipal Hospital replacement project to support better access to health care for area residents
    • $20 million over the next 3 years, including $17 million in new funding, to continue planning for a standalone Stollery Children’s Hospital
    • $313 million for Alberta Surgical Initiative to help increase the number of surgical procedures performed in Alberta annually
  • $2 billion per year for Drugs and Supplemental Health benefit programs, including $883 million for the seniors drug program that supports over 700,000 seniors

Supporting Albertans

Supporting strong families, keeping life affordable and helping those in need

  • $1.5 billion for child-care services, an increase of 15.9 per cent, to create more child-care spaces, lower fees for parents and support service providers
  • $717 million in capital grants over three years to advance Alberta’s Affordable Housing Strategy
    • This includes $254 million in new funding to help build about 3,300 new affordable housing units and complete 1,800 units already underway.
  • $257 million in 2024–25 for the Seniors Lodge, Social Housing, Specialized Housing, Affordable Housing Strategy and Rental Assistance programs will:
    • Support high quality services in lodges and social housing, so that seniors and people in need have homes that keep them safe and secure.
    • Expand the rental assistance program to support another 550 households in need, for a total of 12,700 renter households.
  • $355 million, or an increase of 9.6 per cent, to cover indexation and population growth for payments under the Alberta Child and Family Benefit, provided to lower income families
    • Families with two children are eligible for payments up to $3,641 for the 2024–25 benefit year.
  • An increase of $24.5 million in 2024–25 and $70 million over three years to add hundreds of new homeless shelter spaces through the Homelessness Task Force Action Plan and support operational cost pressures at shelters

Creating a brighter future for children

Supporting enrolment growth, meeting students’ needs and strengthening post-secondary programs

Budget 2024 funds new schools in growing communities and supports choice in education with a 4.4 per cent, or $393 million, increase in operating expense to Education, for a total of $9.3 billion in 2024–25.

  • $1.9 billion in capital funding over the next three years for planning, design or construction of new and modernized school projects across the province, including $681 million in new funding for 43 priority school projects that will create 35,000 new and modernized student spaces
  • More than $1.2 billion over three years, including $842 million in new funding, to support enrolment growth and enable schools to hire hundreds of new teachers
  • $55 million over three years for the University of Calgary’s multidisciplinary hub to add 1,000 spaces in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs
  • $43 million capital funding for planning of NAIT’s trades and technology learning facility
  • $126 million over three years for the Rural Physician Expansion Program to provide rural, Indigenous and other learners with increased access to medical education
  • $13 million in capital funding for Red Deer Polytechnic to create a new space to help businesses conduct applied research

 

Managing Resources

Budget 2024 will enhance Alberta’s ability to respond to extreme natural events and ensure wise management of the province’s resources.


Water Management

  • Over the next three years, $418 million in capital funding will be put towards expanding water supply and storage infrastructure.
    • $262 million for irrigation projects to support farmers and agricultural producers.
    • $147 million for water infrastructure projects to ensure necessary irrigation water supply throughout the province.
    • $10 million earmarked for feasibility studies which will explore options for water storage in the Waterton-Belly- St Mary Basins and Ardley, Alberta.
  • In addition, $19 million in operating expenses will be put towards creating a modern water strategy to increase water availability through enhanced storage, conservation, data systems and policies.
  • Alberta’s government is making strategic investments which will promote sustainable growth, environmental protection, and ensure uninterrupted access to water for Albertans.
  • Budget 2024 provides $539 million in capital funding over three years to support other water and wastewater projects throughout the province, including water supply projects, water and wastewater treatment plants, and disposal facilities in small communities.


Flood, drought, wildfire protection

  • Over the next three years, $251 million will also be put towards funding flood and drought mitigation projects, such as berms, dams, reservoirs, and flood walls.
  • Over $200 million will be used for greater operating expenses to enhance wildfire response and readiness, and to procure new wildfire fighting equipment and facilities.
  • $10 million has additionally been earmarked to expand air and water monitoring and increase the government’s capacity to respond to spills, wildfires, droughts, and floods.

Investing in Safe Communities

Budget 2024 will ensure Alberta’s communities remain safe and secure through greater investment in emergency response and coordination, crime prevention, and by increasing capacity in the province’s court system. It also includes funding for mental-health services.

  • 100 street-level police officers will be added in high-crime locations in Calgary and Edmonton, and this will be achieved through the $1.2 billion operating budget of Public Safety and Emergency Services.
  • Up to $150 million will be used to build new justice and correctional facilities, administrative offices, and various law courts, as well as to upgrade many existing ones.

 

Caring for at-risk Albertans

 $328 million will be used to develop recovery communities and youth mental health facilities.

  • An additional $10 million will be put towards creating mental health spaces at Alberta’s post-secondary institutions, and developing Adult Mental Health and Wellness centres, respectively.

Maintaining Alberta’s Competitive Advantage

Investing in jobs and the economy

  • $10 million for workers through the Alberta is Calling attraction bonus, which provides a $5,000 refundable tax credit aimed at attracting out-of-province workers in the skilled trades
  • $724 million in municipal infrastructure funding through the Local Government Fiscal Framework in 2024-25
  • $60 million over 3 years in the new Local Growth and Sustainability Grant program, to enable municipalities to fund infrastructure that supports economic development and addresses unique and emergent needs in their communities
  • $597 million over 3 years from the province’s TIER (Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction) fund to support a suite of programs that reduce emissions, support clean technology development, enhance climate resiliency and create jobs for Albertans
  • $1.5 billion for child-care services in 2024-25, an increase of $200 million, enabling more Albertans with young children to participate in the workforce
  • Almost $30 million over 3 years for the Aboriginal Business Investment Fund, an increase of nearly $8 million, to help fund business startup and expansion costs in Indigenous communities

 

Capital Investments

  • $7.2 billion over 3 years to support municipalities to build and create vibrant communities:
    • $2.4 billion in Local Government Fiscal Framework funding to help Alberta municipalities fund local infrastructure projects
    • $60 million for the new Local Growth and Sustainability Grant Program to help municipalities fund economic development and sustainable growth initiatives
    • $1.6 billion for light rail transit projects in Calgary and Edmonton, including $43 million in new funding for the Calgary Blue Line
  • $955 million to improve major roadway corridors in Calgary and Edmonton
  • $129 million to support ongoing work to twin Highway 11 between Rocky Mountain House and Sylvan Lake
  • $2.1 billion to support 98 school projects, add modular classrooms and support charter and collegiate schools
  • $55 million to upgrade facilities and equipment that support wildfire operations
  • $810 million to advance the redevelopment and expansion of Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre
  • $654 million to build and modernize continuing care facilities across the province
  • $313 million for the Alberta Surgical Initiative to increase the number of surgical procedures performed annually
  • $35 million for the EMS Vehicles Capital Program to purchase new EMS vehicles and ambulances and upgrade the existing fleet
  • $328 million, consisting of $191 million provincial funding and a $137 million federal contribution, to develop recovery communities and children and youth mental health facilities
  • $456 million for the Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program to support investments in Alberta’s petrochemicals sector
  • $30 million for the Aboriginal Business Investment Fund to support business opportunities in Indigenous communities by helping fund start-up and expansion costs
  • $405 million for the Affordable Housing Partnership Program to help build 13,000 new affordable housing units
  • $539 million to expand and improve municipal water and wastewater infrastructure
  • $251 million over 3 years in capital funding for flood and drought mitigation projects such as canals, dams, spillways and reservoirs
  • $63 million for Olds College to renovate and expand student spaces in the W.J. Elliott Building
  • $55 million to increase STEM programming capacity at the University of Calgary
  • $26 million for the University of Lethbridge Rural Medical Teaching School
  • $30 million for the new Community Recreation Centre Infrastructure Program to support the development of small and mid-sized recreation facilities

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