The Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, an independent think tank, conducted an analysis of federal and provincial spending in the event of a pandemic. Albertans received the most per capita funding from the federal government, averaging $ 11,410 per person, compared to Ontario, the second highest, at $ 9,940, according to the report.
The report attributes Alberta’s high numbers to $ 1 billion from the federal oil and gas shutdown program and substantial adoption of business support programs.
Albertans received the most per capita support for federal government businesses, including through the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy ($ 17.5 billion) and the $ 17.5 billion loan cancellation program. Canada Emergency Account for Business (CEBA) ($ 1.9 billion).
Personal supports were the second largest category in the province, thanks to programs like the Canada Emergency Benefit (CEP) at $ 8.8 billion, the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRP) at 3. $ 5 billion, and improvements to employment insurance benefits, $ 1.3 billion. .
The report also found that Alberta has the largest amount of unallocated COVID-19 funds, worth $ 1.8 billion. That’s an increase of over $ 1 billion from the $ 750 million untapped in January.
“In terms of budget transparency, it is difficult to say whether the expenditure of this fund will be positive or negative, to which categories it will go, etc. Said David Macdonald, senior economist at the center.
“In the worst case, this might not be spent at all [on COVID response]. This is only a theoretical number in the budget. And if not spent, all that unallocated funding would just be used to reduce the deficit. “
Trevor Tombe, an economist at the University of Calgary, told CBC News in an email that the centre’s figures seemed reasonable.
The report is an update of an initial January release.
The August version found that the federal government was bearing the bulk of the cost of COVID measures across the country, at $ 620 billion, an average of 86% of spending, while the provinces contributed 14%.
Several provinces have challenged some of the findings of the first report.
“Support for Alberta’s COVID-19 response and recovery plan totaled $ 5.1 billion, plus $ 460 million in capital investments,” Premier Jason Kenney’s office wrote in a communicated.
“The Government of Alberta has deferred billions of dollars in fees and taxes to help Albertans keep more of their own money, including $ 2.5 billion in utility bills, property taxes for education, student loans and government expense deferrals. We have helped small businesses deal with COVID-19 by providing a total of over $ 700 million in grants.
The provinces have slowly borne a greater portion of these costs since January, compared to the first year of the pandemic.
But Alberta contributed among the smallest – just 1.2 percent of its GDP, according to the report.
That’s three times less than provinces like British Columbia and Quebec, causing the COVID division to spend eight percent in Alberta dollars and 92 percent federally.
“Business support from provincial dollars was greatest in Alberta compared to any other province,” said Macdonald.
“However, the province has spent virtually none of its own funds on individual supports or health expenses due to COVID-19. “
Alberta’s biggest change from the CCAC’s initial report in January was that the province took advantage of the essential worker wage program and came very close to federal funding provided to municipalities.