It has been a difficult year for our community, and our entire province.
The combined effects of the public health crisis, uncertainty in global markets, and a collapse in global energy prices have created some of the most challenging economic conditions in Alberta’s history. While these crises have had serious impacts on our province, Alberta is leading the country in our COVID-19 response, from both a medical and economic perspective.
As we look ahead, we must focus on strengthening our economy and ensuring that our community has a prosperous future. On June 29, our government announced Alberta’s Recovery Plan. Focused on creating jobs now, building up our province, and diversifying the economy for the future, this plan introduces new measures and investments that will help get Albertans working.
As part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan, our government is investing in infrastructure projects which will create tens of thousands of jobs in the near term, and fuel economic growth for years to come. An infrastructure investment of $10 billion is expected to create 50,000 jobs, many of which will be related to the construction and maintenance of Alberta’s critical infrastructure. Projects building and maintaining roads, bridges, pipelines, schools, hospitals, and more will help create well-paying jobs when they are needed most.
Alberta’s Recovery Plan will also focus on measures that reduce barriers to job creators in all industries. On July 1, government reduced the corporate tax rate from ten per cent to eight per cent — 18 months ahead of schedule — by accelerating the Job Creation Tax Cut. This tax cut makes our province the most attractive place to do business in Canada, and sends a clear message that Alberta is open for business. This will accelerate the creation of tens of thousands of full-time jobs in the private sector, in a time when more Albertans than ever are looking for work.
Small businesses are at the heart of our community, and many of them are facing additional costs in order to keep employees and patrons safe. From June 29 to August 31, small- and medium-sized businesses, co-ops, and non-profits with fewer than 500 employees can apply for up to $5,000 of grant funding to help with their relaunch through the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant program. This funding will help businesses who have lost a significant portion of their revenues reopen safely, and help get Albertans back to work. More information is available at alberta.ca/sme-relaunch-grant.aspx.
In the weeks ahead, I encourage Strathcona County residents to support local businesses. There are many examples of local businesses who are serving our residents, while taking precautions to keep their workers and customers safe. If we continue to take steps to protect ourselves and others from spreading COVID-19, we can continue to get out in the community, support local business, and do so safely.
Nate Glubish is the Member of the Legislative Assembly for the Strathcona-Sherwood Park constituency. If you have any questions or comments about this column or any provincial government issues, he would like to hear from you. Contact Glubish’s constituency office at 780-416-2492 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org