Alberta finance minister to deliver first-quarter fiscal update

Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews will provide a first-quarter update on the province’s finances today — following a year-end report that saw the province’s finances mired in red ink.

Toews will present an economic and fiscal update for the first three months of 2021-22 — April, May and June — at 10:30 a.m. MT.

CBC News will livestream the news conference here.

COVID-19 has derailed Alberta’s plans for a balanced budget, hammering government coffers and gouging revenue.

Alberta’s final report on 2020-21, delivered in June, detailed how the pandemic and an ensuing oil price collapse had pushed the province deeper into debt.

The province ended the last fiscal year with a $17-billion deficit — about double what the budget predicted — and Toews warned that more cuts could be on the way in 2022. 

Pandemic spending and aid programs, costing about $5.5 billion, had drained the budget. 

Debt hit $93 billion, $19 billion higher than it was in March 2020.

In February, Toews unveiled the 2021-22 provincial budget. He predicted an $18.2-billion deficit, one of the largest in the province’s history.

At the time, Toews said the province needed to spend more to counteract the economic challenges posed by the pandemic. The budget earmarked $1.25 billion in spending to fight the pandemic.

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