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Alberta budget 2022: Calgary hospitals, trade schools and U of C to benefit


Alberta's Finance Minister Travis Toews delivered the province's budget on Thursday, saying it will not only balance the books over the next year, but will help Alberta emerge from a financially debilitating few years with a small surplus.

The government expects to spend just under $62.1 billion over the next year, but earn more than $62.6 billion, thanks to the rapidly rising price of oil.

“We're using, I would say, credible but cautious projections for three years,” said Toews. “And what I can say confidently is we have a far more sustainable fiscal reality today that we had four years ago.”

While Alberta's UCP government was criticized one year ago for building a budget on what many experts felt were overly optimistic projections for the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI), this year’s estimates seem more realistic.

WTI, Canada's benchmark crude, traded at $96US a barrel on Wednesday when Alberta’s latest budget was released as current geopolitical instability temporarily – but perhaps artificially – forced up the price of natural resources, but the budget is built on $70US a barrel.

It means there could be some fiscal security built in.


The province is spending most of its cash on health care.

It will increase the budget by $600 million, meaning $22 billion will go to Alberta Health Services over the next year.

Much of that will be devoted to expanding intensive care unit capacity and staff, while also placing more physicians in rural areas. However, the government hasn’t yet determined how many ICU beds will be added or how they’ll be distributed across the province.


Toews did say, however, the money will continue to be directed to completing the Calgary Cancer Centre, while also increasing beds there.

He said they will also be adding spaces for mental health treatment the Peter Lougheed Centre.

The province also announced a $750million COVID-19 contingency fund, meant to compensate from any costs arriving from subsequent waves of the coronavirus.


The province is also putting $600 million over the next three years into its new Alberta at Work program.

The program is meant to increase employment opportunities, especially in the trades and industries experiencing a labour shortage – specifically trucking, where there is a severe lack of drivers.


The money will also be used to create thousands of spaces at post-secondary schools in everything from aviation to engineering.

It also includes investments in agriculture and a $59million injection to expand the University of Calgary’s veterinary school.

Toews says it may take a few years to see the payoff of the investment, as more people enter the workforce

"I think all of those broader metrics will be used to evaluate the success of this program,” he said. "Short-term we're going to measure it very objectively with seat capacity that's created."

While annual funding to post-secondary schools continues to decline, Toews says the funds directed to them from the Alberta at Work program will offset some of that loss.


The province will also offer a natural gas rebate to customers if they end up paying more than $6.50/gigajoule on their bills.

The program doesn’t take effect until Oct. 1, though Toews says if that threshold is met before then, they will start the program earlier.

That follows many complaints from Calgarians and other across the province that utilities bills were getting too high. Top Stories

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