Positive directions and tone, but not enough detail on growth agenda
ALBERTA—With today’s Federal Budget 2022, Alberta businesses are welcoming the commitment to—and financial support of—a low emissions future. Also positive is the enhanced discussion of economic growth and fiscal sustainability—but more is still needed in terms of developing and executing a long-term growth agenda.
“Upon first read, we are pleased to see Budget 2022 place a significant emphasis on environmental and climate action, specifically in support of carbon capture and storage (CCS) initiatives,” notes Adam Legge, President of the Business Council of Alberta. “The road to Canada’s emissions target runs directly through Alberta. Today’s federal budget—including the 50% carbon capture investment tax credit, other support for decarbonization, and expanding the mandate of the Canada Infrastructure Bank to include resource sector projects—will enable Alberta businesses to better contribute to a competitive low-carbon future.”
Ahead of the federal budget, the Council outlined five areas of priority for the people and businesses of Alberta. These priorities included:
- Enabling businesses to make long-term climate investments now
- Supporting Alberta as a secure global supplier of low-carbon energy; and of the globally-relevant clean tech solutions researched, developed, and deployed (RD&D) at home
- Balancing economic recovery with continued pandemic uncertainty
- Creating an innovative, sustainable, and growing economy to support vital services
- Workforce development for the economy of tomorrow
“Where the budget comes up short is on speed and scale. In terms of speed, our current regulatory system will not allow Canada to hit our targets. We have less than 8 years to build an unprecedented amount of low-carbon infrastructure, and at our current rate of approvals Canada won’t hit that timeline. We still need to see serious commitment to a regulatory express lane, and an order of magnitude more investment,” says Legge.
In terms of scale, today’s budget includes commitments to a growth agenda in terms of establishing a Council of Economic Advisors, a Canada Growth Fund, and a new Canadian Innovation and Investment Agency—all of which this Council has called for. But there is little in terms of details at a time when Canada needs to be accelerating into a nationwide growth agenda that will start and scale companies and grow economic activity.
The improving fiscal picture is positive. It is important to note that this is because of increased revenues, and those increased revenues are due in very large part to the energy industry—Canada’s largest export.
“We look forward to working with the federal government, collaboratively as partners at the table, to put the plans of this budget into action for a competitive and low-carbon future,” says Legge.
An in-depth analysis of how Budget 2022 measured up against our identified priorities will be released early next week.