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New tax bracket among features of Alberta’s 2024 Budget

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Budget 2024: A responsible plan for a growing province

Budget 2024 is a responsible plan to strengthen health care and education, build safe communities and manage resources wisely to support a growing Alberta.

With a steady focus on fiscal responsibility and wise spending, Alberta’s government will continue to meet the needs of Albertans today and tomorrow. Budget 2024 presents three more years of balanced budgets, beginning with a forecast surplus of $367 million in 2024-25. Budget 2024 strengthens the vital services Albertans rely on and ensures those services remain sustainable over the long run.

“Alberta is growing. Budget 2024 is a plan that manages the pressures faced by a growing province today while securing the future for generations who follow. I’m proud of the choices we made in this budget that support Albertans’ top priorities and prepare our province to meet the challenges that lie ahead. Budget 2024 invests today and saves for tomorrow so we can continue to be the nation’s economic engine.”

Nate Horner, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance

Budget 2024 is a responsible plan that puts Albertans and Alberta families first by investing in their health, education, safety, and economic growth and success. Priority investments include:

  • Health and mental health supports: $26.2 billion in operating dollars, a 4.4 per cent increase over the forecast for 2023-24.
  • Education supports: $9.3 billion in operating expenses, a 4.4 per cent increase from last year, to support record enrolment growth, hire hundreds more education staff including teachers and educational assistants, and support students with specialized needs.
  • Social supports: $2.9 billion in 2024-25 to Albertans through the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped program, the Alberta Seniors Benefit and other social support programs, plus $355 million for Alberta Child and Family Benefit payments to help low-income families, indexing payments to inflation and providing for more eligible clients.
  • Workforce supports: An increase of $102 million over three years to add 3,200 apprenticeship classroom seats in high-demand areas and support curriculum updates to the apprenticeship program, as well as $62.4 million over three years to expand physician education, including through rural health training centres.
  • Public safety supports: $1.2 billion in 2024-25 operating expense for Public Safety and Emergency Services to support police and mental health crisis teams, deploy street-level police officers to tackle crime in Calgary and Edmonton, and provide $74 million to the Alberta Emergency Management Agency.
  • Wildfire supports: $151 million operating expense over the next three years for enhancements to the Wildfire Management Program and $55 million in capital investment for new firefighting equipment and facilities.
    • The fiscal framework provides the flexibility the government needs to respond quickly to disasters and emergencies as they arise, including a $2-billion contingency.
  • Water management and drought preparedness supports: $1.3 billion in capital funding over the next three years, including $251 million to better prepare the province for floods and droughts; $272 million for irrigation projects; and $539 million to support municipal water supply and wastewater infrastructure.
    • Budget 2024 also provides additional operating support of $19 million over three years for the Strategy to Increase Water Availability and $9 million for water management initiatives.
  • Capital supports: In total, $25 billion over three years in capital funding to build schools, hospitals, roads and other infrastructure, supporting 24,000 direct jobs and 13,000 indirect jobs across the province.

Alberta is well-positioned to remain the economic engine of Canada, with real gross domestic product forecast to grow 2.9 per cent in 2024, but the province continues to face challenges. While Alberta’s growing population is supporting economic activity and helping to ease labour shortages, it is also increasing demand for housing, health care, education and other public services. Ongoing geopolitical turmoil, uncertainty from federal government policies and high consumer prices risk dampening growth. Budget 2024 prepares Alberta to face those headwinds, with its responsible plan that invests in Albertans today and builds prosperity for tomorrow.

The fiscal framework introduced in spring 2023 requires the government to use at least half of any available surplus cash to pay down debt, freeing up more money to support Albertans. Taxpayer-supported debt will be reduced by a forecast $3.2 billion in the 2023-24 fiscal year. With the government’s commitment to paying down debt, the total taxpayer-supported debt will be $78.4 billion at the end of 2024-25.

High interest rates and the need to refinance maturing debt are driving up debt-servicing costs (the interest payments and fees on the debt) paid by taxpayers. As a result, debt-servicing costs are growing by $229 million in 2024-25 to $3.4 billion. While high interest rates on refinanced maturing debt are driving up those costs in the short term, the government’s strategic debt repayment plan will save Albertans millions in the long term.

The province is retaining more than $1 billion in investment earnings from 2023-24 in the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund. Alberta’s government will also deposit another $2 billion from the Alberta Fund, increasing the value of the Heritage Savings Trust Fund to a forecast $25 billion. This is a significant investment in the future of Albertans and the province’s main long-term savings fund

Revenue

  • In 2024-25, total revenue is estimated to be $73.5 billion, which is $2.1 billion lower than the  third-quarter forecast for 2023-24.
  • Revenue from personal income taxes is estimated to increase to $15.6 billion in 2024-25, up $365 million from the third-quarter forecast, and grow in the following two years as more people continue to move to Alberta.
  • Corporate income tax revenue is estimated at $7 billion in 2024-25, down $176 million from the third-quarter forecast for 2023-24, but rising over the next two years.
  • Non-renewable resource revenue is estimated to drop to $17.3 billion in 2024-25, from $19.4 billion forecast for 2023-24, and is forecast to pick up over the medium term.

 

Expense

  • Total expense in 2024-25 is $73.2 billion, a 3.9 per cent increase from the forecast for 2023-24.
  • Total expense is expected to be $74.6 billion in 2025-26 and $76.2 billion in 2026-27.
  • Total operating expense in 2024-25 is $60.1 billion, a 3.9 per cent increase from the 2023-24 forecast.
  • A contingency of $2 billion will help the province respond to disasters and emergencies and other in-year expense pressures, a $500-million increase from 2023-24.

 

Surplus

  • A surplus of $367 million is forecast for 2024-25.
  • Surpluses of $1.4 billion and $2.6 billion are forecast for 2024-25 and 2025-26, respectively.

 

Economic outlook

  • In 2024, real gross domestic product is expected to grow by 2.9 per cent, up from the 2.6 per cent forecast at mid-year.
  • Strong population growth is expected to continue at 3.7 per cent in the 2024 calendar year, down from 4.1 per cent growth in 2023.

 

Energy and economic assumptions, 2024-25

  • West Texas Intermediate oil (USD/bbl)                            $74
  • Western Canadian Select @ Hardisty (CND/bbl)            $76.80
  • Light-heavy differential (USD/bbl)                                    $16
  • ARP natural gas (CND/GJ)                                              $2.90
  • Conventional crude production (000s barrels/day)          507
  • Raw bitumen production (000s barrels/day)                    3,429
  • Canadian dollar exchange rate (USD¢/CDN$)                75.90
  • Interest rate (10-year Canada bonds, per cent)               3.70

 

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This is a news release from the Government of Alberta.

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Alberta

Red Deer Doctor critical of Alberta’s COVID response to submit report to Danielle Smith this May

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From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

Leading the task force is Dr. Gary Davidson, who was skeptical of mandates at the time.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith will soon be receiving a little-known report she commissioned which tasked an Alberta doctor who was critical of the previous administration’s handling of COVID to look into how accurate the province’s COVID data collection was, as well as the previous administration’s decision-making process and effectiveness. 

As noted in a recent Globe and Mail report, records it obtained show that just less than one month after becoming Premier of Alberta in November of 2022, Smith tasked then-health minister Jason Copping to create the COVID data task force. 

Documents show that the Alberta government under Smith gave the new task force, led by Dr. Gary Davidson – who used to work as an emergency doctor in Red Deer, Alberta – a sweeping mandate to look at whether the “right data” was obtained during COVID as well as to assess the “integrity, validity, reliability and quality of the data/information used to inform pandemic decisions” by members of Alberta Health Services (AHS).  

As reported by LifeSiteNews in 2021, Davidson said during the height of COVID that the hospital capacity crisis in his province was “created,” was not a new phenomenon, and had nothing to do with COVID.

“We have a crisis, and we have a crisis because we have no staff, because our staff quit, because they’re burned out, they’re not burnt out from COVID,” Davidson said at the time. 

Davidson also claimed that the previous United Conservative Party government under former Premier Jason Kenney had been manipulating COVID statistics.  

In comments sent to the media, Smith said that in her view it was a good idea to have a “contrarian perspective” with Davidson looking at “everything that happened with some fresh eyes.” 

“I needed somebody who was going to look at everything that happened with some fresh eyes and maybe with a little bit of a contrarian perspective because we’ve only ever been given one perspective,” she told reporters Tuesday. 

“I left it to [Davidson] to assemble the panel with the guidance that I would like to have a broad range of perspectives.” 

After assuming her role as premier, Smith promptly fired the province’s top doctor, Deena Hinshaw, and the entire AHS board of directors, all of whom oversaw the implementation of COVID mandates. 

Under Kenney, thousands of nurses, doctors, and other healthcare and government workers lost their jobs for choosing to not get the jabs, leading Smith to say – only minutes after being sworn in – that over the past year the “unvaccinated” were the “most discriminated against” group of people in her lifetime. 

As for AHS, it still is promoting the COVID shots, for babies as young as six months old, as recently reported by LifeSiteNews.  

Task force made up of doctors both for and against COVID mandates  

In addition to COVID skeptic Dr. Gary Davidson, the rather secretive COVID task force includes other health professionals who were critical of COVID mandates and health restrictions, including vaccine mandates.  

The task force was given about $2 million to conduct its review, according to The Globe and Mail, and is completely separate from another task force headed by former Canadian MP Preston Manning, who led the Reform Party for years before it merged with another party to form the modern-day Conservative Party of Canada. 

Manning’s task force, known as the Public Health Emergencies Governance Review Panel (PHEGRP), released its findings last year. It recommend that many pro-freedom policies be implemented, such as strengthening personal medical freedoms via legislation so that one does not lose their job for refusing a vaccine, as well as concluding that Albertans’ rights were indeed infringed upon. 

The Smith government task force is run through the Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA) which is a provincial agency involved in healthcare research.  

Last March, Davidson was given a project description and terms of reference and was told to have a final report delivered to Alberta’s Health Minister by December of 2023. 

As of now, the task force’s final report won’t be available until May, as per Andrea Smith, press secretary to Health Minister Adriana LaGrange, who noted that the goal of the task force is to look at Alberta’s COVID response compared to other provinces.  

According to the Globe and Mail report, another person working on the task force is anesthetist Blaine Achen, who was part of a group of doctors that legally challenged AHS’s now-rescinded mandatory COVID jab policy for workers. 

Some doctors on the task force, whom the Globe and Mail noted held “more conventional views regarding the pandemic,” left it only after a few meetings. 

In a seeming attempt to prevent another draconian crackdown on civil liberties, the UCP government under Smith has already taken concrete action.

The Smith government late last year passed a new law, Bill 6, or the Public Health Amendment Act, that holds politicians accountable in times of a health crisis by putting sole decision-making on them for health matters instead of unelected medical officers. 

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Alberta

Alberta’s baby name superstar steals the show again

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Olivia and Noah continue to reign as top baby names in 2023.

Olivia and Noah are once again topping the lists in Alberta, highlighting the enduring appeal of the names. Olivia maintains a record setting streak as the most popular girls name in Alberta for the 11th year in a row, while Noah remains top pick for boys’ names for a fifth consecutive year.

“Congratulations to those who welcomed a new addition to their family in 2023. Bringing a child into the world is a truly momentous occasion. Whether the name you chose was in the top 10 or one of a kind, these names are only the beginning of the endless possibilities that lie ahead for each child. I look forward to supporting this generation by ensuring Alberta remains a place where they can thrive.”

Dale Nally, Minister of Service Alberta and Red Tape Reduction

In choosing names for their new arrivals, parents appear to have found inspiration in a variety of places. Some parents may have been inspired by plants like Ivy, Rose, Juniper, Poppy, Azalea or in nature like Wren, River, Meadow and Flora.

Others may have taken a literary approach with names like Bennett, Sawyer, Juliet and Atticus or been inspired by notable names from religious texts like Eve, Noah, Mohammed and Gabriel.

As always, popular culture may have had an influence through famous musicians (Aretha, Lennon, Presley, Hendrix), athletes (Beckham, Crosby, Evander), and even fairytale princesses (Tiana, Jasmine, Aurora, Ariel, Belle).

Quick facts

  • A total of 47,263 births were registered in Alberta in 2023
  • Notable changes to the early 2020s lists:
  • Evelyn rose to seventh place on the girls’ names list after tying for 19th place in 2022.
  • Emily returned to the top 10 list for girls after taking a short break in 2021 and 2022 after a 10-year stretch in the top 10 that started in 2010.
  • Violet has cracked the top 10 list for the first time in at least four decades, tying with Ava and Emily in ninth place.
  • The top 10 boys’ names remain the same as last year but with a slight change in order.
  • Historically, girls’ names that held the No. 1 spot for the longest consecutive time period include:
  • Olivia: 11 years (2013-2023)
  • Jessica: six years (1990-1995)
  • Emily: five years (1998-2002)
  • Historically, boys’ names that held the No. 1 spot for the longest consecutive time period include:
  • Ethan: nine years (2001-2009)
  • Liam: seven years (2010-2016)
  • Matthew: five years (1995-1999)
  • Noah: five years (2019-2023)
  • Parents have up to one year to register their child’s birth. As a result, the list of 2023 baby names and birth statistics may change slightly.

Boys’ names and frequency – top 10 names 2018-23

(In brackets is the number of babies with each name)

Place Boy Names (2023) Boy Names

(2022)

Boy Names (2021) Boy Names (2020) Boy Names (2019) Boy Names (2018)
1 Noah (276) Noah (229) Noah (274) Noah (239) Noah (275) Liam (225)
2 Liam (181) Liam (176) Jack (220) Oliver (229) Liam (234) Oliver (212)
3 Oliver (178) Theodore (173) Oliver (208) Liam (206) Oliver (225) Noah (199)
4 Theodore (173) Oliver (172) Liam (198) Benjamin (182) Ethan (213) Ethan (188)
5 Jack (153) Jack (159) Theodore (191) William (178) Jack (198) Logan (182)

Lucas (182)

6 Henry (146) William (146) William (174) Jack (169) William (185) Jacob (181)
7 Lucas (140) Benjamin (138) Ethan (162) Lucas (163) Lucas (174) William (178)

Girls’ names and frequency – top 10 names 2018-2023

(In brackets is the number of babies with each name)

Place Girl Names (2023) Girl Names

(2022)

Girl Names (2021) Girl Names (2020) Girl Names (2019) Girl Names (2018)
1 Olivia (210) Olivia (192) Olivia (210) Olivia (236) Olivia (229) Olivia (235)
2 Amelia (145) Sophia (152) Charlotte (166) Emma (184) Charlotte (188) Emma (230)
3 Sophia

(138)

Emma (149) Ava (165) Charlotte (161) Sophia (181) Charlotte (175)
4 Charlotte

(135)

Amelia (133) Emma (164) Ava (159) Emma (178) Emily (164)
5 Emma (133) Harper (125) Amelia (161) Sophia (151) Ava (161) Ava (161)
6 Isla (120) Charlotte (117) Sophia (137) Amelia (145) Amelia (159) Abigail (153)
7 Evelyn (114) Ava (115) Isla (135) Isla (133) Emily (150) Harper (150)
8 Chloe (101)

Violet

(101)

Isla (101) Abigail (120)

Chloe (120)

Emily (127) Abigail (141) Sophia (146)
9 Ava (99)
Emily (99)
Lily (100) Evelyn (119) Lily (123) Hannah (137) Amelia (145)
10 Hannah (98)

Hazel

(98)

Chloe (92) Aria (112) Abigail (114) Elizabeth (124) Elizabeth (130)

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