Alberta government ditches $1. After weeks of criticism over its policies to spur job growth, the Alberta government confirmed Monday it was cancelling a controversial job creation grant program introduced in last fall’s budget. Economic Development and Trade Minister Deron Bilous said the province is terminating the incentive program that the government had initially said would help create up to 2. The program never got off the ground, but Bilous said the government was told it wasn’t going to achieve the job growth the province wanted as the economy struggles and the global price of oil languishes.
Instead, the program will be replaced with “a suite of initiatives that are much more responsive to the current economy,” Bilous said. He declined to reveal more, but said the details will be included in Thursday’s provincial budget. The province had planned to spend $1. The government touted the program as one of its top accomplishments after introducing it last fall.
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The grants were set to begin flowing this spring, but an application process that was to begin in January never materialized. Opposition critics and opponents of the program called on the government to replace it with something better. Bilous wouldn’t say how much the province is investing in job creation in the coming budget, but said that “likely there will be even more money” than what the province had set aside for the incentive program. We’ve pivoted away from a program and instead have pursued a number of initiatives based on a lot of feedback from business and industry, and I think they’re going to be very pleased with our budget on Thursday,” Bilous said.
He did reveal the province will provide $1. Alberta Innovates to business incubators such as TEC Edmonton to help encourage entrepreneurship and job growth.
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Last month, Premier Rachel Notley signalled her government will introduce a small business tax cut in the upcoming budget. Wildrose Party jobs critic Grant Hunter said the government should have taken the time to properly consult with businesses before introducing the grant program instead of delaying needed economic stimulus.
He said the official Opposition would welcome a one- per- cent cut in the small business tax, but said other government policies such as a $1. Interim Liberal leader David Swann said the decision to axe the grant program was “somewhat predictable.” “I’m pleased. I don’t think businesses need subsidies to hire people. What they need is sustainable stimulus,” he said. Swann said a small reduction in the small business tax would do more to spur job growth.
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