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Alberta's Recovery Plan leans on construction

July 9, 2020

Stadium Yards near downtown Edmonton: 1,000 homes planned by Brookfield Residential. | Rohit Land Development

Alberta premier Jason Kenney unleashed a $10 billion stimulus package—Alberta’s Recovery Plan—June 28 that leans heavily on the construction industry for economic recovery.
The government, Kenney said, will launch a series of large-scale infrastructure projects this summer at a total cost of $612 million. These projects are designed to create at least 2,500 jobs, and have been chosen to improve long-term economic growth and encourage investment across the province.
Plans include the twinning of highways, projects in the agricultural sector and gas line extensions for northern residents.
Alberta’s Recovery Plan earned quick praise from the provincial construction groups.
“We’ve reviewed the plan and we applaud the government. It’s a massive infrastructure investment and it’s very important not just for construction employers and workers, but also for the entire economy,” said Progressive Contractors Association of Canada president Paul de Jong.
The stimulus package also includes a reduction in the corporate income tax rate to 8 per cent—18 months sooner than the province had originally intended—which, the Premier said, gives Alberta an advantage in Western Canada’s economy.
“When Alberta’s corporate income tax rate hits 9 per cent, British Columbia’s corporate income tax will be 50 per cent higher at 12 per cent,” Kenney noted.
The incentives are desperately needed in Alberta, according to the Conference Board of Canada, which estimated in a June forecast that the province would see the jobless rate spike to 17.4 per cent by the second quarter of 2020.
“Even though the second half of the year will see an improvement, more than 130,000 jobs will be lost across the province in 2020,” the Conference Board stated in its forecast.

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