Alberta looks to attract investment, plans to create full employment by 2023
CALGARY -- Alberta’s finance minister is expected to announce a plan to create jobs and reinvigorate the economy Monday morning.
Travis Toews will address the Calgary Chamber of Commerce Monday morning regarding the recent provincial budget and how the government plans to increase competitiveness and attract investment.
Toews is optimistic about the fiscal year ahead, calling 2020 a "turnaround year" for the province, but critics still have their doubts.
Oil prices are on a rollercoaster ride right now as the COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in market volatility and impacts U.S.-China trade relations.
North American benchmark prices for oil slumped below $47 USD per barrel on Thursday last week, while the province is budgeting for $58 USD per oil.
Toews’ plan is centred on cutting red tape and lowering corporate taxes. He says that will attract an estimated four billion dollars in investment each year by 2023 and also create 55,000 jobs annually by 2022.
Still, the goal appears to be ambitious as Alberta deals with an unemployment rate that climbed to 7.3 per cent last month.
The finance minister has expectations that will fall in the next couple of years to 5.1 per cent or full time employment by the year 2023.
Meanwhile, the Conference Board of Canada’s latest report expects unemployment to be 7.8 per cent this year and remain at 7.7 per cent by the year 2023.
NDP finance critic Shannon Phillips and Opposition Leader Rachel Notley have both referred to Toews' employment numbers as "fantasy" projections.
Notley says there’s no practical plan to create jobs but the UCP is defending its plan.
In the budget, Toews said the province will spend $6.9 billion on capital projects this year in the hopes of supporting an additional 3,000 jobs.
The finance minister added that further investments into the expansion of the Dow petrochemical facility and a $300 million Suncor wind power project will also increase employment.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Energy Minister Sonya Savage will speak at a well servicing facility in Leduc Monday morning to outline the province’s first steps in the UCP’s blueprint for job creation.