March 28, 2023

Federal budget takes important steps on key areas for Alberta; policy pieces still need to land to unlock investment

CALGARY, ALBERTA—The Business Council of Alberta welcomes Budget 2023’s progress toward implementing a growth agenda for Canada and enabling the investments needed to reach Canada’s environmental and economic objectives.

This budget takes some important steps toward unlocking the investments needed for Canada to meet its environmental and growth ambitions. These steps include not just investment incentives in areas like hydrogen and carbon capture (CCUS), but also positive early signals on important issues like accelerating regulatory processes and establishing contracts for differences,” says Adam Legge, President of the Business Council of Alberta. “What will be critical to getting major projects moving will be implementing expertly and rapidly on these key pieces to the puzzle, and we look forward to working with the government on doing this as quickly as possible.”

One of the signature themes of Budget 2023 is the commitment to broad industrial growth strategy that looks to address some of Canada’s key challenges including several new industrial tax credits, such as for hydrogen, and enhanced support for carbon capture utilization and storage.

As part of implementing that strategy, we applaud the budget’s language on the need to accelerate regulatory processes. Canada must make improvements to build major projects faster and with greater certainty. This has been a key focus of our advocacy efforts, as timely project approvals are critical to attracting investment in all projects and especially those that focus on emissions reductions.

Contracts for Difference are a critical remaining component to catalyze major decarbonization projects. This budget included meaningful discussion of this policy tool and the announcement of a consultation on its development. It is the view of this Council that this consultation, and the details around this key area of investment certainty, must develop quickly to realize our goals as a country.

An important area to get right to unlock shared long-term prosperity is enabling greater Indigenous partnership in major projects. And in this area, significantly more work is needed.

While we saw some movement on Indigenous ownership in major projects through the Canada Infrastructure Bank, we were disappointed as it does not go far enough to enable Indigenous economic participation in all sectors and regions,” says Legge. “More is needed, and we continue to encourage the government to explore options such as a national counterpart to the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation.”

Notably, the budget includes efforts to build out Canada’s electricity system in a way that is responsive to regional geographic realities, including new tax credits, and the inclusion of natural gas in Canada’s green electricity strategy. This is important for regions like Alberta that don’t have access to low-emissions sources of electricity such as widespread hydro. The Council appreciates the progress in this budget on many key files for Alberta and stands ready to collaborate further with the federal government on finalizing and implementing these policy areas.

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