Alberta Budget: Odds And Ends

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Here are some other details of note from the Alberta budget tabled this afternoon.

Debt

Taxpayer-supported debt outstanding is estimated to total $76.1 billion at the end of 2023-24 and $78.4 billion at the end of 2024-25. Debt servicing costs are expected to be $3.4 billion in 2024-25.

Alberta Petroleum Marketing Commission

The Alberta Petroleum Marketing Commission (APMC) is forecasting a net loss of $525 million in 2024-25, $224 million more than the $301 million loss forecast for 2023-24.

The loss in 2024-25 mainly relates to the Sturgeon Refinery due to a decline in refined product prices, such as diesel, and higher feedstock costs from the narrowing oil price differential.

APMC’s net loss increases to $552 million in 2025-26, but then falls moderately to $391 million in 2026-27.

Increase in AER staffing

The number of full-time equivalents at the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) will climb by 29 to 1,077 for 2024-25. “The 29 FTEs increase effective 2024-25 is related to the AER’s new responsibility for regulatory oversight of rock-hosted mineral resources development in the province,” the government told the DOB.

Oilsands monitoring

Environment continues to manage the Oil Sands Monitoring Program (OSMP) in partnership with Indigenous communities, oilsands companies and the federal government, to enhance understanding of the cumulative effects of oilsands development activities on the environment.

Budget 2024 provides an increase of $14 million over the next three years to support additional oilsands monitoring, evaluation and reporting activities.

OSMP funding is $54 million per year, or $163 million over three years.

Energy and Minerals ministry

The ministry’s 2024-25 operating expense budget is $823 million, an increase of $6 million from the 2023-24 forecast.

Alberta ‘attraction bonus’

The Alberta is Calling Attraction Bonus targets skilled workers to help fill critical labour shortages in the province. The program starts in April 2024, and expense of $1 million in 2024-25, $12 million in 2025-26 and $1 million in 2026-27 is forecast.

This one-time initiative will provide a $5,000 refundable tax credit to individuals working in eligible occupations who move to Alberta after the program start date in April 2024 and meet additional eligibility criteria. These requirements will include working full time in a specified occupation, filing their 2024 taxes in Alberta and living in the province for at least 12 months.


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Indigenous Relations

For 2024-25, ministry operating expense is forecast at $210 million, with the $1-million decrease from 2023-24 reflecting lower dedicated gaming revenue and related expense.

In October 2023, the government increased the aggregate loan guarantee limit for the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation (AIOC) from $1 billion to $2 billion, with an additional $1 billion increase to $3 billion to take effect in 2024-25. This will increase the capacity of Alberta’s Indigenous communities to participate in economic opportunities, in fields such as health care, manufacturing, forestry, tourism, and technology.

In addition, $9.2 million in operating expense in 2024-25 is allocated to AIOC to support Indigenous groups investing in natural resources projects that will benefit Alberta’s economy.

Apprenticeship training

Budget 2024 includes funding increases totalling $102 million over the next three years for an additional 3,200 apprenticeship classroom seats in high demand areas, and to support needed curriculum updates to the apprenticeship program. Funding for apprenticeship learning grants will rise to $85 million in 2024-25.

Capital plan

Heartland

Budget 2024 allocates $32 million over three years to fund the Designated Industrial Zone Pilot Project, which will construct three new water intakes and associated infrastructure in the Industrial Heartland. These projects will help attract new private investment to the region.

Petchem

The budget continues to fund the Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program (APIP) with a budget of $456 million over three years.

Aboriginal Business Investment

Budget 2024 allocates $30 million for the Aboriginal Business Investment Fund, including $8 million in new funding, to support eligible Indigenous community-owned businesses to fund capital costs associated with start-up or expansion.


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