Canada: Alberta Budget 2017

On March 16, 2017, the Alberta Government released Budget 2017 titled "Working to Make Life Better" ("Budget 2017"), which includes the government's fiscal and capital plans and the outlook for the province's economy. This is the NDP's third budget which follows last year's "The Alberta Jobs Plan" released on April 1, 2016 ( click here for BLG's analysis of Budget 2016). Finance Minister, Joe Ceci, stated that there are signs "green shoots" are emerging from the downturn in Alberta's economy, including increased drilling rig activity, exports, and employment in the province. The province has seen two consecutive years of recessions as a result of the low price of oil. The Alberta Government structured Budget 2017 around three key themes:

  1. Supporting practical changes to make life more affordable for Albertans;
  2. Creating good jobs and building a diversified economy; and
  3. Protecting and improving the services and supports that make a difference in the lives of Albertans.

Highlights of Budget 2017

The 2017-18 fiscal year projects expenses of $54.9 billion, revenues of $45 billion, and a deficit of $10.3 billion, representing half a billion less than the budget deficit in Budget 2016. The deficit is anticipated to increase by $9.7 billion for 2018-2019 and $7.2 billion for 2019-2020.

Highlights of Budget 2017 include:

  • Removing school fees ($54 million on a school year basis) including fees for instructional supplies or materials;
  • Extending the tuition freeze in post-secondary institutions for a third year and increasing base operating grant for post-secondary institutions by 2%;
  • Continuing the government infrastructure investments from Budget 2016 into programs and projects in the amounts of $4.5 billion for health infrastructure (including a new hospital in Edmonton and a long term care facility in Calgary), $2.6 billion for schools (including 5 new schools in Calgary, and 4 new schools in Edmonton), $3.1 billion for road and bridges (including twinning Highway 15 near Edmonton and a new interchange in Calgary), and $7.6 billion in municipal infrastructure support;
  • Projecting increases in the operating budget of 2.2% in 2017-2018, and 2.7% in 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 and increases in total expenses ($54.9 billion in 2017-2018, $56.7 billion in 2018-2019 and $58 billion in 2019-2020);
  • No changes in personal or corporate tax announced;
  • Forecasting the economy to grow by 2.6% in 2017;
  • Predicting the oil price will continue to increase over the next three years and that oil revenues will continue to be a major source of funding for the Alberta Government.

Notable Energy and Economic Assumptions

Budget 2017 expects that the global oil market will slowly come back into balance and that oil will average US$55/bbl in 2017-18, $59, in 2018-19, and $68 in 2019-20. For every dollar by which the price of a barrel of oil drops represents roughly $130 million loss in revenue for the Government of Alberta. Due to this volatility, the Budget 2017 includes a risk adjustment factor of $500 million in 2017-2018. This risk adjustment is included in the calculation of the deficit.

Alberta's economy is expected to expand by a modest 2.6% in 2017. Growth will be primarily driven by a surge in production and exports as oil sands output expands and manufacturing exports increase. The recovery in the Alberta economy is expected to be moderate due to the lingering effects of low oil prices on investment and consumer spending. Real GDP is not expected to return to pre-recession levels until 2019. The Alberta Government projects a decline in oil sands and non-residential investment before a gradual improvement occurs.

The Issue of Alberta's Deficit

Finance Minister, Joe Ceci, confirmed that this year's deficit will be $10.3 billion, while Alberta's total debt is projected to increase to $45 billion in the coming year, as the NDP government continues to borrow heavily to finance operations and to build infrastructure. There was no clear indication by the Alberta Government as to when the deficit would cease. Budget 2017 lacks specific details about how the NDP government plans to return the province to a balanced budget or to start paying off the increasing debt. The $45 billion debt amounts to a nominal GDP ratio of 13.8 per cent with debt servicing costs of $1.4 billion. The debt is forecast to hit $71.1 billion by 2019-20, with a debt-to-GDP ratio of 19.5 per cent. Debt servicing costs by then are estimated at $2.3 billion.


The Alberta Government has no plans to raise taxes or to cut services this year. However, Budget 2017 provides the first detailed look at how the Alberta Government intends to spend the carbon levy, which came into effect on January 1, 2017. The government estimates the carbon tax will bring in $1.04 billion in 2017-18, which will increase to $1.4 billion a year by 2019-20. Budget 2017 has a chapter devoted to how the Alberta Government plans to spend $5.4 billion in carbon revenue over three years. The Alberta Government intends to spend the revenue in the following areas: small business tax reduction ($565 million); household rebates (approximately $1.5 billion); energy efficiency programs ($151 million); coal phaseout agreements ($291 million); capital for green infrastructure (approximately $1.3 billion) and other infrastructure identified as bioenergy, renewable energy, innovation and technology, and coal community transition ($998 million).

Click here for BLG's recent assessments of the Alberta Carbon Levy.

About BLG

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions