Alberta’s Budget Deficit Reaches $17 Billion On Pandemic Spending

New figures show Alberta's budget deficit swelled to $17 billion as the western Canadian province spent aggressively in its fight against COVID-19.

The latest budget details reveal that Alberta spent $5 billion more than expected battling the pandemic by the end of the last fiscal year in March. The money went toward continuing care, hospitals, testing, vaccine distribution, personal protective equipment, and grants and aid for businesses and workers.

The Government of Alberta’s numbers are part of the final report on 2020-21 finances delivered by provincial Finance Minister Travis Toews.

Alberta’s 2020/21 fiscal year ended with a $17-billion deficit on $60 billion in spending. Taxpayer-supported debt sat at $93 billion.

The report says the pandemic bludgeoned Alberta's resource-based economy, with real Gross Domestic Product falling by 8.2% and unemployment rising to 11.4% over the past year. However, the province says better times appear to be on the horizon.

Oil prices are on the rise and multiple economic forecasts predict Alberta will lead the nation in economic growth in the coming months.