Faced with a significant revenue shortfall due to falling oil prices, Finance Minister Robin Campbell presented a 10 year economic plan for the provincial government in Alberta’s 2015 Provincial Budget. Budget 2015 slightly reduces government spending while increasing user fees and taxes, introducing health care premiums, and making significant changes to Alberta’s provincial income tax structure. Alberta will run a significant deficit for the next two years, with the shortfall for 2015-16 expected to be $5 billion, the largest deficit in Alberta’s history.

The good news for retailers and consumers in Alberta is that the Prentice government did not introduce a provincial sales tax and did not increase corporate taxes. Despite increasing other taxes, Alberta will continue to be the lowest tax jurisdiction in Canada.

To view the 2015 Alberta budget papers, click here.

Budget Highlights included:

  • Introduction of a new Health Care Contribution Levy for individuals making incomes more than $50,000;
  • Introduction of two new personal income tax brackets for Albertans making more than $100,000 to be phased in over the next three years;
  • A four cent increase to the provincial fuel tax;
  • Increases to Alberta’s Tobacco Tax and a one percent increase to the Insurance Premiums Tax;
  • No increase to corporate or small business tax rates;
  • No mention of an increase to the province’s minimum wage.

Next Steps:

Premier Jim Prentice is expected to call a provincial election in the next few weeks. RCC will monitor both likelihood of an upcoming provincial election as well as the implementation of Budget 2015. We will continue pressing the government to take action on the key priorities outlined in RCC’s Retail’s Election Agenda including lowering payroll costs, implementing cost effective waste diversion, harmonizing to reduce the regulatory burden on retailers, and increase Alberta’s available labour pool.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact: Lanny McInnes at: [email protected] or 204-253-1654