Alberta to give out-of-province workers ‘attraction bonus’ as part of ‘Alberta is Calling’ campaign

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith's mandate to Jobs Minister Matt Jones includes introducing a one-time 'Alberta is Calling' attraction bonus of at least $1,200 for skilled trade workers and professions with labour shortages in Alberta, including healthcare.

Alberta to give out-of-province workers ‘attraction bonus’ as part of ‘Alberta is Calling’ campaign
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol and Facebook/Matt Jones
Remove Ads

Alberta's second crack at recruiting workers from across Canada is in the works — but it comes with a taxpayer-funded goody bag that Albertans will not receive.

Alberta's Job ministry told Rebel News that a one-time "Alberta is Calling" attraction bonus of at least $1,200 is in the works for out-of-province workers, specifically for the skilled trades.

"As Alberta creates more jobs, we will need even more skilled workers to keep pace," said acting Jobs spokesperson Nicky Cocuan, who lauded the campaign for filling labour shortages in the province the first time around.

"These workers help fill a number of gaps and provide needed skills to address housing availability challenges," she said.

The campaign also highlights the province's economic advantages, including the booming technology and innovation sector and offering Canada's highest weekly earnings and lowest taxes. 

As part of Premier Danielle Smith's mandate to Jobs Minister Matt Jones, she requested the minister to introduce a one-time "Alberta is Calling" attraction bonus of at least $1,200 for workers in skilled trades and professions with labour shortages in Alberta, including healthcare, childcare and the trades.

Rebel questioned the need for an "attraction bonus" amid rising rent and mortgage costs in Calgary that discourage some locals from accessing housing — who are not privy to said taxpayer-funded lump sum.

One must earn $29.51 per hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment — almost double the province's minimum wage.

According to Statistics Canada, Alberta received nearly 46,000 interprovincial migrants between 2022 and 2023 — a record high — with 33,000 coming during the third quarter of 2022.

From this period onward, rent for a two-bedroom Calgary apartment increased 14.5% in July compared to July 2022 — a higher spike than observed in Toronto, Vancouver or Montréal. 

Between 2012 and 2021, rent in the city only increased by 16.3%, with housing supply plummeting shortly after.

According to the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB), median home prices have increased nearly 16% since 2021, whereas they had only increased 28% over the previous ten years.

Cocuan said the Alberta government is working to "develop partnerships" and "build more housing units" to support 82,000 households by 2031 — an increase of more than 40% over 2021.

"We are focused on finding innovative solutions that encourage new investments in housing while ensuring Albertans can find homes that fit their budgets," she said.

True North reported that those earning less than $87,000 annually can only access 40% of Calgary's housing market. In 2020, StatsCan said the median individual income was $44,250, with 75% of residents earning under $80,000 annually. 

In August 2022, then-premier Jason Kenney launched the "Alberta is Calling" campaign to lure skilled workers from Toronto and Vancouver.

In March, Alberta announced its second "Alberta is Calling" campaign to attract more skilled labourers, with an expanded mandate to include workers from the Maritimes and other parts of Ontario, such as London, Hamilton, Windsor, and Sudbury.

Then Jobs Minister Brian Jean said the province again calls for skilled workers to join its thriving economy as it "creates good-paying jobs, attracts investment and pursues diversification" in skilled trades, healthcare, food service and hospitality, accounting, engineering and technology. 

Rebel asked the Jobs Ministry about the appropriateness of a $1,200 bonus when Albertans face several barriers to affordability.

Cocuan replied: "Alberta's government acted decisively to relieve Albertans struggling with inflation through the affordability crisis. This includes suspending the fuel tax, [and] re-indexing payments for seniors and people with disabilities."

According to a Statistics Canada report released in December, Alberta workers took home the highest weekly earnings of any province, at $1,268. Alberta families earned a median after-tax income of $104,000 in 2020 — $7,000 more than Ontarian families.

On May 11, Premier Danielle Smith told reporters that additional inflation relief also includes support to food banks and other community groups, funding for low-income transit pass programs and direct payments to those most affected by inflation. 

During the announcement, the premier extended the fuel tax suspension to make "life more affordable" for Albertans.

In addition, she pledged to cut taxes for all Albertans by introducing a new 8% tax bracket on income under $60,000 and permanently indexing personal income taxes.

In March, Smith claimed Alberta's prosperity would spill over into the rest of Canada through the "Alberta is Calling" campaign and ensure that "Alberta remains Canada's economic engine for years to come."

"When we looked at the success of the first round of Alberta's calling, the decision was easy. When we put out the call to Toronto and Vancouver, we saw a [massive] surge of people visiting and requesting email notifications about Alberta," she said.

A September report from the Alberta Treasury Branch found that nearly 10,000 more people moved to Alberta from other provinces than left in the second quarter of 2022.

In the same quarter, Ontario lost the most significant number of people — mostly young people around 25 — to interprovincial immigration. Exactly 21,008 Ontarians left for other provinces, of which 6,281 moved to Alberta.

Remove Ads
Remove Ads

  • By Ezra Levant

Help us fight Postmedia's censorship!

$17,642.00 Raised
Goal: $20,000.00


Never miss a story!

Get updates on our coverage of Alberta's Legislature straight to your inbox.

Sign Up

Don't Get Censored

Big Tech is censoring us. Sign up so we can always stay in touch.

Remove Ads