UCP cutting $110M from family, social supports & housing in 2023

They’re not the only ones. The NDP also planned drastic cuts to capital spending for family, social supports, and housing had they been re-elected.

This past November, Alberta’s finance minister, Travis Toews, presented the mid-year fiscal update. I was recently reading through the capital plan section of the fiscal update and encountered a few things that I figured I’d share with my readers.

One thing that I noticed was that the government is forecasting an increase of $10 million in capital spending for “family, social supports, and housing” by the end of March this year. That seems like a good thing, right?

Well, you tell me.

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2019–2020 actual$150 million
2020–2021 actual$142 million
2021–2022 budget$110 million
2021–2022 forecast$120 million
2022–2023 target$70 million
2023–2024 target$41 million

So, while we might be spending $10 million more on “family, social supports, and housing” than originally planned, that original plan was $32 million lower than what we spent the year before. That means even with the $10 million increase, we’re still spending $22 million less than we did before.

Plus, the 2020–2021 spending amounts was already $8 million less than what the UCP government spent in their first year. So, we are spending not only $18 million less this year than we did last year but also $30 million less than we did two years ago.

That’s not all. According to the mid-year fiscal update that the government issued in November 2020, the original capital budget for “family, social supports, and housing” for the 2020–2021 budget year was $176 million, not $142 million.

We were supposed to have spent over $30 million more last year than we actually ended up spending, as well as $26 million more than we spent in 2019–2020.

And it just gets worse after this year, dropping by $50 million next year and another $29 million the year after. We’re planning on spending two years from now basically only a third of what we’re spending this year.

To the UCP’s credit, however, they were originally planning on spending only $93 million this year and $53 million next year, according to the 2020–2021 mid-year fiscal update. Assuming all goes according to the forecast, we’re ending up with $27 million more in “family, social supports, and housing” capital spending this year than we thought we would. As well, as $17 million more next year.

That still doesn’t change the fact that we’re dropping from $120 million to $41 million in just two years, however. Let alone down from $150 million from two years ago.

To be fair, the NDP planned to cut funding to “family, social supports, and housing”, too. At least, according to the 2018–2019 budget.

Let’s compare the NDP’s 2018–2019 projections with the projections from the UCP November 2021 mid-year fiscal update. Keep in mind that all the numbers for the NDP are projections.

2019–2020 actual$172 million$150 million
2020–2021 budget/actual$78 million$142 million
2021–2022 budget$34 million$110 million
2022–2023 target$20 million$70 million
$304 million$472 million

The NDP had no projections for the 2023–2024 budget year. When we compare the two, clearly, it looks like the UCP increased spending from what the NDP had planned.

Now, let’s look at where that money was supposed to be spent.

Here is the UCP’s first 4-year forecast that issued in 2019:

Aboriginal Business Investment Fund$5$5$5$5$20
Affordable Housing Energy Savings Program$3$0$0$0$3
Family and Community Housing Development and Renewal$30$37$9$0$76
Indigenous Housing Capital Program$5$10$10$10$35
Infrastructure and Housing for Métis Settlements$3$2$2$2$9
New Housing Supply – Affordable and Specialized Housing$14$22$24$12$72
Planning for Affordable Housing$3$3$0$0$6
Seniors Housing Development and Renewal$63$99$61$31$254
in millions

I can’t find details on how much was actually spent in 2019–2020 or 2020–2021, but here are the updated projections for the final two years in this 4-year forecast, as of February 2021.

Aboriginal Business Investment Fund$5$5$5$0
Affordable Housing Energy Savings Program$0$0$0$0
Family and Community Housing Development and Renewal$9$0$7$1
Indigenous Housing Capital Program$10$10$10$10
Infrastructure and Housing for Métis Settlements$2$2$2$2
New Housing Supply – Affordable and Specialized Housing$24$12$30$27
Planning for Affordable Housing$0$0$0$0
Seniors Housing Development and Renewal$61$31$56$24
in millions

It looks like the UCP plan to spend an extra $3 million overall in “family, social supports, and housing” than they planned for this year and next.

  • Cut the $5 from the final year for the Aboriginal Business Investment Fund
  • Cut $1 million from Family and Community Housing Development and Renewal and spread it out over another year
  • Added $21 million to New Housing Supply
  • Cut $16 million from Seniors Housing Development and Renewal

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

2 replies on “UCP cutting $110M from family, social supports & housing in 2023”

s/b “… that original plan was $32 million lower …”
“… we’re still spending $22 million less …”

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