Investments in health care and preparing for economic recovery through the COVID-19 pandemic are the focuses of Alberta Budget 2021.
The document was unveiled on Thursday afternoon and includes no new tax increases.
Finance Minister Travis Toews says Budget 2021 ensures health-care funding to see all Albertans through the pandemic. “At the same time, it lays the foundation for economic growth and job creation while carefully managing Albertans’ hard-earned tax dollars. It’s a budget that protects our health-care system and positions Alberta to emerge from COVID-19 stronger than ever.”
You can read the full budget document here: Alberta Budget 2021
This budget includes a major investment in health care, setting aside a $1.25 billion contingency to fight COVID-19. Almost $900 million will be added to Health’s base budget to reduce surgical wait times, increase continuing care, and home care capacity.
Continuing care will be bolstered by $200 million this year, as well, and the government’s investment of $140 million over four years into mental health and addictions treatment continues.
The government’s three-year plan includes investing almost $21 billion in construction projects to support approximately 90,000 new jobs. This is $1.7 billion more than what was planned in Budget 2020 for 2021-22.
Careful Approach to Spending
Budget 2021 also aims to put Alberta’s finances back on track. The UCP government says this includes public service wage efficiencies that will be reinvested into health care and economic recovery.
In 2021-22, total revenue is estimated to be $43.7 billion. This is $1.4 billion more than the 2020-21 forecast of $42.3 billion.
A deficit of $18.2 billion is targeted for 2021-22. This is $2 billion less than the 2020-21 forecast.
Written by Pat Siedlecki, MyLethbridgeNow.com