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Our running tracker of the impact of the Alberta budget

It can seem overwhelming to keep track of all of the cuts and funding initiatives introduced as part of a provincial budget. That's why we've decided to consolidate all of them in one place for your easy reference.

CBC News is tracking where dollars have been spent by the UCP government

Finance Minister Travis Toews, left, and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney shake hands after the delivery of the provincial budget in Edmonton on Oct. 24, 2019. (Jason Franson/Canadian Press)

Note: With the Alberta government set to table its 2020 budget on Feb. 27, we published a final update to this 2019 budget tracker on Feb. 22.


It can seem overwhelming to keep track of all the cuts and funding initiatives introduced as part of a provincial budget. The news cycle moves on so quickly that major stories can often be lost in the shuffle.

That's why we've decided to consolidate all of them in one place for your easy reference. We'll update this list weekly, so add it to your bookmarks if you'd like to refer back.

Universities

The United Conservative Party government's 2019 budget provided $5.1 billion for Advanced Education operations, which represents a five-per-cent cut over the previous year. 

Operating expenses were reduced by 12 per cent to $4.8 billion by 2022-23, largely by reducing provincial grants.

The University of Calgary said 250 jobs would be impacted by funding cuts. Tuition and education tax credits are also being cut.

The University of Calgary will slash 250 jobs after provincial funding cuts. The United Conservative government's 2019 budget provided $5.1 billion for advanced education operations. (University of Calgary)

Students at the U of C can now expect anything from a zero per cent increase to a 15 per cent increase to their tuition — depending on what program they're in. 

MacEwan University students will pay approximately $457 more in tuition in the next academic year. The University of Alberta is set to see a $44.2-million cut.

Starting in April 2020, provincial grants will be tied to new performance measures

The government will tie Campus Alberta Grants — approximately 40 per cent of funding — to those metrics, starting April 1. If a university meets only 90 per cent of its targets, it will receive only 90 per cent of its provincial funding. ​​​​​

Public schools

The budget for kindergarten to Grade 12 education is $8.2 billion, the same amount that was spent last year, but the UCP abolished three grants: Class Size Funding, Classroom Improvement and School Fee Reduction, which totalled $428 million and only partially replaced those cuts with a one-time transition grant of $153 million.

After the CBE announced it would cut 300 temporary teachers, Alberta Education Minister Adriana LaGrange ordered a provincial review and accused the public school board of "reckless" misspending.

LaGrange later informed the province's school boards that they could apply for one-time access to funding earmarked for maintenance to support classroom and school-based staffing costs. 

The Calgary Board of Education has been given the green light by the province to repurpose maintenance dollars for staffing purposes. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

The Calgary Catholic School District is facing a $11-million reduction in funding as a result of the budget, and will also incur $6-million in costs associated with growth.

The parents of 11,000 Edmonton public school students will have to start paying busing fees for the last five months of the school year.

Funding appeared to favour smaller schools. Alternative schooling saw an increase of $4 million as part of the budget.

The Alberta government is investing $1.8 billion from its capital plan for the construction of new schools and the modernization of existing schools across the province.

The funding includes $397 million over five years for 25 new and modernized school projects, which will be announced at a later date.

Pensions

As part of the budget, public sector funds were expected to be transferred to the Crown corporation Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) for management.

Alberta's largest labour organization said. public-service pensions are being used to prop up the province's struggling fossil fuels industry.

Public sector

The budget cuts 2,100 public service positions  — a 7.7 per cent reduction — by 2023. 

Hundreds of public sector workers and supporters protested public service cuts and possible job losses outside of the Calgary Airport Westin hotel on November 30. (Michelle Bellefontaine/CBC)

Nearly 6,000 Alberta public-sector jobs could be eliminated as the UCP government tries to cut costs and find efficiencies.

Municipal funding

Municipal funding from the province decreased in the budget, meaning that Calgary and Edmonton had to make cuts, raise taxes, or both.

The budget also reduced funding for Calgary's Green Line, offering up just 14 per cent of the project's expected funding for the next four years with the remainder promised for future years.

The future of Calgary's new Green Line LRT was thrown into flux as a result of the provincial budget. (City of Calgary)

City officials unveiled a revised plan in January that will have a shorter tunnel downtown to keep the budget on track.

Calgary's police faced a $13-million reduction to the service's 2019 budget. The province will keep a greater share of revenues from traffic tickets at a rate of $10 million a year and will charge police for forensic testing at a cost of $2 million. A reduction in cannabis tax revenues will cost Calgary police approximately $1 million per year.

Funding was eventually maintained due to Calgary city council's decision to approve a 1.5 per cent tax hike on Nov. 29.

Edmonton city jobs were also on the line as council weighed its options.

Health care 

Health-care spending in Alberta rose by $201 million to a total of $20.6 billion as a part of the UCP budget.

The government increased funding in some areas, including $100 million on mental health, $40 million to fight opioid addiction and $20 million on palliative care over four years.

But the budget also revealed that indexing would be put on hold until the deficit was eliminated. That means Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped Program (AISH) recipients who receive $1,685 each month will see approximately $35 less in purchasing power next year, depending on inflation. 

The United Nurses of Alberta said Alberta Health Services was reducing staff by 750 front-line nurses.

Negotiations with the province's doctors fell apart in February, as Alberta ended its master agreement and announced new rules would be in place April 1.

Film, video games and tech

The budget eliminated a number of tax credits and grants that have made a significant impact on Alberta's gaming, film and tech industries.

The Alberta video game industry, which relied on the Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit last year, now faces an uncertain future.

Trent Oster (right) is the CEO of Edmonton independent video game company Beamdog. He said he had planned to double the number of employees but now needs to reassess after the tax credit was eliminated. (CBC)

The film industry in Alberta was similarly rocked by the budget.

The government would go on, however, to launch a new tax credit in January, which would allow qualifying productions to apply for a tax credit of either 22 or 30 per cent.

From left: Parker Smith, Brett Colvin, Tom Alvarez and Steve Bodi, part of the team at Goodlawyer, an online legal services marketplace, founded in Calgary. As an early-stage tech company, Colvin said the provincial budget seemed to deliver a message: "we don't really care about you." (Submitted)

Five tax credits utilized by Calgary's tech scene — including the Alberta Investor Tax Credit (AITC) and the Capital Investment Tax Credit — were axed in the budget, and are expected to save $400 million by 2022-23, according to the government. 

That move has some local technology companies reconsidering their future in the province.

Alberta's economic development minister said a new panel report, dubbed the Innovation Capital Working Group, is due to report its finding on the province's technology scene back to government by Feb. 28.

Taxes

The Alberta budget slashes the corporate tax rate from 12 to eight per cent by 2022-23. It is part of a larger strategy to lure investment to the province. The small business tax rate remained at two per cent. The corporate tax rate only applies to businesses making more than $500,000 per year in profit.

Though the government said they would not increase tax, the amount Albertans will pay will effectively go up, as the amount residents are allowed to exempt will not increase.

The province is also increasing this year's education property tax, which will be passed on to municipal residents.

Justice system

The province's justice system is due to see some significant cuts and some funding bumps aligned with the UCP rural crime strategy.

Alberta Justice is also preparing to lay off 90 civil-law lawyers as its legal services division struggles to absorb a $20-million budget cut, according to an internal memo obtained by CBC News.

Other

There were a number of other cuts made by the Alberta government that do not fit under other categories. 

Alberta's Helitack-Rappel, or RAP program, enabled firefighters to rappel from helicopters to fight forest fires. That program was cut, garnering an annual savings of $1.4 million.

An image from a video showing a firefighter rappelling from a helicopter. The Alberta government is ending the rappel program. (Alberta Environment/YouTube)

Alberta's Summer Temporary Employment Program was also axed as part of the budget, and will save about $32 million over four years, according to the budget.

Two child-care subsidies will also be cut by the Alberta government in January.

All told, Alberta's budget forecasts a return to a surplus of $584 million in the 2022-23 fiscal year. 

Did we miss anything? Send your tips to joel.dryden@cbc.ca

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