Alberta budget promises to keep residents working

Province promises stimulus for oil and gas and $7.2 billion for infrastructure projects
||Last Updated: 09/28/2009

Alberta's 2009 budget is aimed at creating new jobs and maintaining existing ones, with nearly $7.2 billion for infrastructure spending, stimulus initiatives for the oil and gas industry, additional funding for the development of new industries, and skills training and employment services.

The province is pumping $7.2 billion into infrastructure spending, including health facilities, schools, highways and regional water systems, and estimates every $1 billion spent will support 11,600 jobs across the economy, from engineering and construction to the retail and service sectors.

Economic stimulus measures also include new drilling incentives announced in March that will encourage Alberta’s oil and gas industry to invest in Alberta by drilling new wells. It’s estimated that each new oil or gas well supports 120 jobs across the economy. The incentives are expected to cost the government $1.5 billion in revenues over two years.

The budget also provides a total of $104 million this year for innovation, research and technology commercialization initiatives, plus $76 million to support apprenticeship technical training. The government will maintain the 7,000 apprenticeship technical training seats that have been added since 2006-07 in response to increased apprenticeship registrations.

The government will also invest nearly $180 million in employment and training programs and partnerships with industry and employers to keep Albertans working.

In addition to this funding, $10 million from the federal Community Development Trust will be targeted to work with communities and develop training programs for Albertans who have been adversely affected by the recent economic downturn. The funding will also be used to help increase the number of Aboriginal people in the labour force.

Alberta is also allocating $37 million to promoting labour standards and workplace safety — a budget increase of more than $5 million.

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