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Budget highlights

Budget 2014 highlights by topic

 

All Albertans

  • Budget 2014 has a $2.6 billion operational surplus, a $1.1 billion increase in net assets, and a $1 billion increase for health, education, post-secondary education and support for vulnerable Albertans.

  • Alberta's rapid growth requires continued investment in infrastructure. Alberta is expected to grow by another million people in the next decade or so. That's like adding a city the size of Calgary.

  • Over the next 3 years Alberta is investing more than $19 billion through the Building Alberta Plan for roads, schools, health facilities and municipal capital projects that are high priorities for Alberta families and will meet the needs of a growing province.

  • The budget supports activities that will help Alberta build its economy, access new markets and promote higher prices for Alberta's products.

  • There will be no new taxes or tax increases.

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Communities

  • Budget 2014 maintains government's commitment to support municipalities and build strong communities. Municipalities will receive more than $2 billion in direct funding in 2014-15 from across government.

  • The Municipal Sustainability Initiative Capital will receive an increase of $150 million over the next three years from Budget 2013.

  • $49 million will support greater collaboration for regional initiatives through the Alberta Community Partnership program.

  • Government is investing $31 million to follow through on recommendations following the Slave Lake fire. These dollars will focus on wildfire prevention, hiring more firefighters and improving other firefighting resources to protect Alberta's communities.

Roads and transit

  • Budget 2014 means Alberta will be able to rehabilitate 2,500 kilometres of existing provincial highways to protect what we have already built, along with investment in the construction of transportation and water management infrastructure.

  • It also means construction of the final leg of the Edmonton ring road and the twinning of Highway 63, both scheduled for completion by fall of 2016.

  • Budget 2014 also supports the Fort McMurray Urban Area Upgrades program to complete the Parsons Creek Interchange, as well as the recent land exchange agreement with the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo that will help address growth pressures in the region.

  • Alberta will also partner with the federal government and the City of Edmonton to cost-share construction of the interchange at 41st Avenue SW and Queen Elizabeth II Highway interchange, providing access to Canadian Pacific Railway's planned intermodal terminal.

  • Funding of $162 million has been identified in 2016-17 for GreenTRIP. This brings GreenTrip funding commitments to $667 million over the next three years. This means a second call will be announced in the future as the Government of Alberta moves forward with fulfilling the $2 billion program commitment to support sustainable public transit alternatives across Alberta.

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Health care

  • Health accounts for 45 per cent of Government of Alberta operational expense and Budget 2014 increases this funding by over $600 million.

  • Alberta will spend $50 million every day — or $2.1 million every hour — delivering health services in 2014-15.

  • Alberta Health Services will see increased funding to $10.7 billion to deliver health services and operate facilities throughout Alberta.

  • An additional $393 million will go towards operating costs of new health facilities, including the South Health Campus in Calgary, the Kaye Edmonton Clinic, and the Strathcona Community Hospital.

  • $1.5 billion will assist Albertans with prescription drugs, ambulance services, cancer therapy drugs and specialized high cost drugs.

  • Primary health care, the first place people go for health services, is receiving increased funding across the province, with $271 million in 2014-15 supporting primary care networks and family care clinics.

  • Increases to the seniors programs in Budget 2014 will mean more Albertans can access health and supplementary benefits, home care and the province's tax deferral program.

  • Community and other health services will receive $805 million to enhance the health of Albertans. Funding will go towards podiatry, oral and optometric services, tissue and blood services, and health services provided in correctional facilities. Also included in this funding:

      • The Alberta Organ and Tissue Donation Registry, making it easier for people to register their intent to become an organ and tissue donor;

      • The continuation of programs such as the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening program, reducing rates of low birth weight, improving maternal mental health, and improving breastfeeding rates;

      • Immunization programs, such as offering the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to Grade 5 male students; and

      • The Insulin Pump Therapy program, where Albertans with Type 1 diabetes who meet clinical criteria can receive coverage for insulin pumps and basic diabetic supplies.
  • Enhanced home care and rehabilitation services will be increased by $12 million, or 44 per cent, to $40 million to provided quality and safety in the continuing care system and help more people go home from hospital with enhanced home care support.

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Education (K-12 and post-secondary)

Kindergarten to grade 12 students

  • Enrolment in Alberta schools is projected to grow by 3.0 per cent in 2014-15. That's more than 18,000 new students needing education support.

  • This budget provides funding for the significant enrolment increases due to Alberta's ongoing population growth. Every new student coming into the system is being funded.

  • More than $6.5 billion in operational support for Alberta's K-12 educational system, a $200 million or 3.2 per cent increase from last year.

  • Government continues to plan for the future by maintaining and enhancing existing school infrastructure, while ensuring there is space for Alberta's booming student population.

  • Funding for school capital will reach $624 million in 2014-15 for the construction of new schools and modernization projects, modular classrooms and other renewal and maintenance funding across the province, including:

      • $345 million in funding to support the Premier's commitment to build an additional 50 new schools and 70 modernizations.

      • $108 million for Infrastructure Renewal and Maintenance Funding, an increase of $23 million compared to the previous year.

      • $109 million in 2014-15 to complete the work remaining on 35 new schools and school modernizations that were approved in 2011.

      • $52 million to support other expansion and renewal projects including the modular classroom initiative.

Post-secondary students

  • This year, Alberta's publicly funded post-secondary institutions will receive over $2.1 billion in base operating grants.

  • This includes an additional $32.5 million to create 2,000 new full-time spaces and encourage collaboration throughout Campus Alberta to support a booming population. Alberta continues to provide among the most generous scholarship funding in Canada, with about 38,500 students expected to share in over $74 million.

  • The Alberta Heritage Scholarship Fund will support $38 million in scholarships this year. Additionally, $200 million will be added to the Alberta Heritage Scholarship Fund, targeted to help apprentices to complete their programs, engage industry, and support excellence across the apprenticeship system.

  • Government will continue to make capital investments in projects at NAIT and Norquest College in Edmonton, the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University, and the University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College.

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Support for vulnerable people

People with disabilities

  • Income and health benefits and other supports will be provided to about 50,000 severely handicapped adults to help them live more independently.

  • $1.1 billion for the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) program, including $192 million for AISH health benefits.

  • Support for services that assist people with disabilities will be increased to $967 million — up $54 million or 5.9 per cent.

  • Alberta will continue to focus on Employment First, an approach to providing employment supports for persons with all types of disabilities and functional challenges.

Low-income seniors

  • Alberta has one of the most comprehensive packages of seniors' benefits in the country, supporting approximately 150,000 low-income seniors.

  • To support Alberta's seniors, there is $353 million budgeted in 2014-15 for the Alberta Seniors Benefit, an increase of $21 million or 6.2 per cent.

  • $31 million is budgeted for special needs assistance to low income seniors for things like home repairs and medical expenses. This is an increase of $6 million or 23 per cent.

  • Over $20 million in loans are anticipated under the Seniors Property Tax Deferral Program in 2014-15. Through the program, seniors most in need are able to keep more money in their pockets by deferring taxes until they sell their home.

At-risk children and youth

  • Child Intervention is budgeted at $735 million, an increase of $42 million, including $199 million for foster care support.

  • Government is addressing family and community safety by allocating $20 million to bolstering community action on issues such as child sexual abuse, children's mental health, parenting supports and mentoring opportunities for children.

  • Budget 2014 will support the implementation of Alberta's new Family Violence Strategy, with approximately $4 million to provide advanced family violence training to child intervention workers, supporting rural, remote and diverse communities, engaging men and boys, peer support and outreach services and strategies to address dating violence.

Affordable housing and homelessness

  • Budget 2014 will continue to invest in homeless support programs to help house about 2,000 homeless Albertans this year, as well as fund over 3,200 spaces in emergency/transitional shelters.

  • Since 2009-10, about 8,800 Albertans who were homeless have been provided housing and supports to help them remain housed.

Other vulnerable Albertans

  • Government will support new and ongoing programs, including improved treatment for individuals with severe and persistent mental illness, 24-hour mental health workers in emergency departments, and the development of child and adolescent mental health inpatient beds in the Calgary area.

  • Alberta is also increasing the capacity of women's emergency shelters by adding $3.8 million, bringing total investment to almost $33 million.

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Opening new markets and the economy

Businesses and the economy

  • As a responsible energy developer, Alberta is working to get fair value for the province's energy resources while maintaining strong regulatory requirements and committing to reduce Alberta's carbon footprint through initiatives like carbon capture and storage.

  • Tourism is a $7.8 billion sustainable industry employing approximately 139,000 people and sustaining 19,000 local businesses in communities across the province. Alberta will reinvest the tourism levy to promote increased tourism experiences in the province — a reinvestment that will grow the sector to $10.3 billion by 2020.

  • The Ministry of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour was created to help make Alberta's workforce the safest and most productive in Canada. New funding in Budget 2014 will step up workplace safety compliance measures, allow us to produce better labour market information, and help businesses find skilled workers.

Farmers and ranchers

  • Alberta has 1.46 million acres of irrigated farm land, approximately 70 per cent of the total irrigated area in Canada, and Budget 2014 will help enhance and maintain our irrigation infrastructure that is vital to the agriculture community in southern Alberta.

  • This year's budget also supports the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency, which is a critical partner in developing new markets and spurring innovation in our livestock and meat industries.

  • Budget 2014 also maintains our investment in crucial community organizations such as agricultural societies, agricultural services boards and major fairs and exhibitions, as well as rural utility grants for gas and electrical infrastructure.

  • The Agriculture and Food Innovation Endowment will allow us to enhance agricultural research and innovation, and further develop our food-processing industry.

Taxpayers

  • There are no new fees, taxes or tax increases.

  • Albertans and Alberta businesses pay the least taxes in the country — with the lowest fuel tax among provinces, no payroll tax, no capital tax and no provincial sales tax.

  • Low taxes help attract investment, promote opportunities for Albertans, attract and retain skilled workers, and keep more money in the pockets of Albertans.

  • Albertans would pay almost $11 billion more in taxes each year with any other provincial tax system.

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Savings

  • Total savings are expected to be $23.9 billion by the end of the 2014-15 fiscal year; $26 billion by the end of 2016-17.

  • The Contingency Account will reach $5 billion this in 2014-15, its targeted amount.

  • The Fiscal Management Act specifies non-renewable resource revenue to be set aside as savings each year.
    • 5% of the first $10 billion
    • 25% of the next $5 billion (up to $15 billion)
    • 50% of any over $15 billion
  • The Savings Plan (PDF)

  • Information about Bill 1 - the proposed Savings Management Act

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Capital Plan Investment

  • $6.6 billion in capital spending in 2014-15 ($19.2 billion over the next three years).

  • $5.1 billion in municipal infrastructure support through the Municipal Sustainability Initiative and other capital programs.

  • $5 billion for the provincial highway network including the Edmonton and Calgary ring roads, rehabilitation work, and twinning Highway 63.

  • $2.6 billion to build new and maintain existing health care facilities.

  • $1.8 billion for school capital projects, including $1.2 billion for 50 new schools and 70 modernizations with an expected total cost of over $2 billion.$859 million in flood recovery projects, mostly for mitigation to help Alberta communities limit the impact of future flood events.

  • The Capital Plan

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First Nations and Metis settlements

  • Budget 2014 continues Alberta's ongoing commitment to increasing the participation of Aboriginal people in the social and economic life of the province.

  • This year's budget will help First Nations develop economic opportunities for their people, as well as strengthening the voices of Aboriginal women through two Aboriginal Women's councils and other Aboriginal women's initiatives.

  • The Government of Alberta has signed Memorandums of Understanding with the Stoney Nakoda and Siksika Nations for rebuilding and repairing of homes damaged by the June 2013 flooding. These include a commitment to train both the Siksika and Stoney Nakoda people and give them the opportunity to learn skills with a focus on providing a labour force to support their rebuilding efforts.

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Flood-affected Albertans

  • Budget 2014 will continue to support the long-term social and emotional recovery for flood impacted Albertans, so we can promote resiliency in the general population and develop provincial capacity to respond to future disasters.

  • As well, this year's budget supports flood affected Albertans by investing in:

      • grants for erosion control and flood mitigation efforts,

      • flood hazard mapping,

      • required mitigation work at sites damaged by the flood,

      • mitigation related to water and wastewater infrastructure, and

      • protecting high-priority areas that are susceptible to future flood damages.

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The environment

  • Support for the Climate Change Strategy continues with capital projects that promote energy efficiency, responsible energy production and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Alberta will continue to support the Shell Quest and the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line Carbon Capture and Storage projects, which are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2.76 million tonnes annually by 2017.

  • $4 million in capital support over three years will help restore flood-affected fisheries and aquatic habitats in southern Alberta.

  • As well, Alberta continues support the work of the Alberta Environmental Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Agency, with enhanced environmental management frameworks, regional planning, and additional science-based modelling tools and initiatives.

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