CIAC was invited to participate in the Budget Lockup in advance of the Finance Minister presenting the 2020 Alberta Budget. The government has pivoted to a strategy of getting Albertans back to work. The goal is to not simply maintain a path to fiscal balance, but also focus on kick-starting economic growth due to a stagnant economy in 2019.
The 2020 Alberta Budget is comprehensive and includes many aspects that will affect the chemistry sector and Albertans as a whole. On the outset, the deficit is projected to be $1.2 billion lower than projected in the 2019 Budget.
For 2020, there is a continued focus on eliminating the deficit by 2022 with a modest 3 per cent reduction in operational spending. The government is focused on what they can control: creating an attractive business environment and modest restraint in spending. Deficit elimination remains largely dependent on tax and royalty revenue growth in future years.
- 2019/20 $7.5 billion forecast deficit
- 2020/21 $6.8 billion targeted deficit
- 2021/22 $2.7 billion targeted deficit
- 2022/23 $700 million targeted surplus
Key Budget Elements Affecting Chemistry in Alberta
- Alberta now has a 10 per cent corporate tax rate, down 12 per cent since the government took office in May 2019. This is the lowest rate in Canada and, when they reach 8 per cent in 2022, will be one of the lowest in North America.
- Modernizing Alberta’s regulatory environment to reduce the burden on job creators.
- The government intends to highlight Alberta’s best-in-class environmental, social, and governance credentials. There is an opportunity for the chemistry industry to highlight Responsible Care in the value-added chemical manufacturing sector.
- Alberta will focus on investments and exports, and promoting the province globally to attract more business investment to Alberta
- Highlighting significant growth potential of downstream value-added petrochemical manufacturing with a continued commitment to Petrochemicals Diversification Program to build off low-cost feedstocks, talented workforce, and essential infrastructure.
- Development of an Investment and Growth Strategy focused on areas of comparative economic advantage in resource-based industries supported by $75 million over three years.
- While yet to be finalized, the establishment of a quasi-government agency to lead investment attraction in key global financial centres.
- Blueprint for Jobs – Focus on Skills Training
- Expanding skilled trades remains a focus.
- Specific focus on new tools and program supports to increase Class 1 drivers.
CIAC will seize opportunities by:
- Supporting and pursuing regional, national, and international investment in the petrochemical sector to catalyze new construction and long-term, high-paying jobs for Albertans.
- Securing additional investment in Alberta’s petrochemical and value-added sectors, including through maintenance of the Petrochemicals Diversification Program. Petrochemicals represent a significant growth opportunity for Alberta.