Alberta’s $10B Fiscal Challenge

Alberta’s fiscal challenges are well documented. Since the 2008 financial crisis, we have only balanced our budget once. And for the last six years, our annual deficits have ranged from $6B to $10B. While the COVID-19 pandemic will make things worse, the core of our fiscal challenge pre-dates this crisis and results from choices made by successive Alberta governments for decades.

It’s simple: Alberta spends more per capita than other provinces all while taxing significantly less. Historically, we were able to fund this luxury with resource royalty revenues, but continued volatility and expected lower commodity prices going forward means that path is no longer sustainable. The good news is that we have options on both the revenue and spending side of the equation to address the gap.

This chart illustrates the flow of revenues in and spending out for the Government of Alberta’s projection for the 2022-23 fiscal year using the 2020-21 mid-year fiscal update and economic statement from November 2020.

This tool is designed for you to explore those options and provide your recommendation for addressing Alberta’s $10B gap.

Take The Challenge

Alberta's $10B Fiscal Challenge

Revenue Options

On the revenue side, Alberta’s budget stands apart in relying so little on taxation. Less than 40% of our overall spending is financed by taxes, compared to over 50% in other provinces.

0%
0%10%

$ (in Billions)
0/tonne
0/tonne170/tonne

$ (in Billions)
0%
0%2%

$ (in Billions)
10%
8%12%

$ (in Billions)
0%
-2%5%

$ (in Billions)
8%
5%15%

$ (in Billions)

Expense Options

On the spending side, Alberta also has challenges. Alberta spends more per person on public services than other major provinces. Last year, Alberta spent nearly $13,000 per capita delivering public services compared to $10,500 in Ontario, $11,000 in BC, and over $12,000 in Quebec.

0%
-20%5%

$(in Billions)
0%
-20%5%

$ (in Billions)
0%
-20%5%

$ (in Billions)
0%
-20%5%

$ (in Billions)
0%
-20%5%

$ (in Billions)
0%
-20%5%

$ (in Billions)

-$ (in Billions)

$ (in Billions)

$ (in Billions)

Please submit your recommended solution. All submissions are anonymous and no personal contact information is required. Next 30 will aggregate all submissions and share key themes as part of our ongoing work to educate and engage on issues of importance to Alberta’s next 30 years.