May 24, 2016

Alberta, Canada Changes its Economic Development Game Plan
Connecticut isn’t the only jurisdiction reeling from the shock waves of volatile tax revenues. Alberta, Canada is being hammered by the economic swings of its oil and natural gas industry, one of the province’s economic mainstays. In the wake of rising unemployment, Alberta adopted last October a $178 million plan to give businesses and nonprofit organizations up to $5,000 for each new employee they hire, up to a $500,000 maximum per employer.

So after launching this program, the business community weighed in on it. “Quite frankly, businesses and industry provided us feedback,” the provincial government’s economic development and trade minister told the press, “to say ‘You know what, that isn’t quite going to give you the outcomes you’re looking for,” according to press reports cited in the State Science and Technology Institute’s April 21, 2016 SSTI Digest. So, the government changed its game plan and now concentrates its resources on diversifying its industries.

That plan is mapped out in the 2016 Alberta Jobs Plan, the centerpiece of which is a 30% tax credit for investing in small and medium-size information technology, clean technology, health technology, interactive digital media and game products, and post-production visual effects and digital animation. The credit’s price tag: $90 million over two years.

But the plan has more: $10 million in new funding for Alberta Innovates, a quasi-public agency that runs business incubators aimed at encouraging innovation and job growth. The plan also provides:
  • $25 million to support apprenticeship and training programs,
  • $25 million to spur knowledge economy innovation and growth,
  • $10 million to support the Agrivalue Processing Business Incubator Program, and
  • $10 million for promoting industrial diversification on a regional basis.