CUPE Alberta Division President Rory Gill says Alberta’s Budget 2024 is a recipe for ‘low wages and poor services.’

Gill says that while the government is offering wage increases of 2% per year to public employees, budget documents admit that the cost of living is projected to increase by at least 2.5% in 2024 alone.

“Workers who have not had wage increases for up to eight years will see another year of falling behind,” said Gill.

Gill was also critical of funding for important public services like education, health and social services which don’t keep up with inflation. Over the term of the budget, inflation and population are set to increase by 6.2%, but funding is stalled at 3.9%.

“Conservatives have been starving public services for years,” said Gill. “Budget 24 continues the tradition and marks one more year of making things worse.”

CUPE was critical of the so-called ‘attraction bonus’ of $5,000 in tax credits for new workers. “How will that work, give someone five grand and then pay them a wage that never keeps up with inflation? Add that to the chance of losing access to the Canada Pension Plan and the new pharmacare plan and it’s a wonder anyone would move here.”

Gill also noted that an attraction bonus does nothing to retain workers already residing in Alberta.

Other budget ‘highlights include:

  • A 6% reduction in health care by 2027- after factoring inflation and population increases.
  • A 7.3% reduction in Education (both k12 and post-secondary) by 2027 after factoring inflation and population growth.
  • An 11% reduction in Social Services by 2027 after factoring inflation and population growth.
  • Nothing to address record utility prices, car insurance, home insurance, or housing costs.