EDMONTON — The Alberta government plans to invest more than $500 million in new funding for seniors' housing in Thursday's budget.
A source has told The Canadian Press that a small portion will be in grants, but the lion's share will be taken from $4 billion in unallocated money from the capital fund.
Lori Sigurdson, the minister for seniors and housing, would not confirm the figure Tuesday, but said money is coming.
"I will say there's a significant investment,'' said Sigurdson.
Senior population will double
She said there's an estimated $1 billion in deferred maintenance on seniors housing, and that the seniors population is expected to double in less than a generation.
"We have about half a million seniors currently, so we'll have a million seniors in 20 years. We need to make sure that we have the housing and the accommodation that they need,'' she said.
Budget to be unveiled Thursday
Finance Minister Joe Ceci unveils the 2016-17 budget on Thursday.
He has already said the low price of oil, which has drained billions of dollars from the bottom line, will bring a $10 billion deficit.
However, he has said the government will stay the course with accelerated capital spending and avoiding deep cuts to the ranks of public sector workers.
The government will spend $34 billion over five years on infrastructure.
2015 budget promised operational spending hikes
Last year's budget also promised operational spending hikes of two per cent a year over each of the following four years.
Ceci declined to confirm Tuesday that this operational spending plan is still in place.
He would only say the spending increase will be less than the combined rate of inflation plus population growth — which is about 2.8 per cent.
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EDMONTON — Alberta's NDP government tabled its first budget Tuesday. A look at some of the winners and losers: Files from The Canadian Press
Winners — Low-income families: New Alberta Child Benefit to assist families earning less than $41,220. Parents to get up to $1,100 for one child and as much as $550 each for three additional children. Family Tax Credit to be enhanced so more lower- and middle-class families can get access to it and draw from it for longer periods. Files from The Canadian Press
Winners — Employers and people looking for work: A two-year job incentive program is to give companies of all sizes, as well as non-profits, $5,000 for each new job they create. Meant to support 27,000 new jobs each year. New measures to improve access to capital for small- and medium-sized businesses. Files from The Canadian Press
Losers — Drinkers and smokers: The cost of cigarettes goes up by $5 a carton. A case of 12 beers goes up 24 cents and a bottle of wine is increased by 18 cents. Files from The Canadian Press
Losers — The insured: There is an insurance premium tax hike of one per cent. Files from The Canadian Press
Losers — Politicians: Cabinet ministers, political staff and members of the legislature are to be under a salary freeze for the remainder of the current four-year legislature term. Files from The Canadian Press
Winners — The sick and those in need: More money for services to help children and families in need, including $15 million to support women's shelters. Operational funding for health is to increase to almost $21 billion by 2018. Files from The Canadian Press
Winners — Construction workers: The province plans to spend $34 billion over the next five years to ramp up construction for roads, schools, hospitals and other facilities. Files from The Canadian Press
Winners — Students: There is a two-year tuition freeze for post-secondary students. An additional 380 teachers, plus 150 support staffers, to be hired for grade schools. Files from The Canadian Press
Losers — Future taxpayers: Starting next year, the province plans to begin borrowing for the first time in 20 years to manage its day-to-day spending. Debt for capital is expected to hit $36.6 billion by 2018. Files from The Canadian Press