Alberta is luring workers with hefty tax incentives

While Alberta formally ended its “Alberta is Calling” advertising campaign last year meant to attract workers to the province, the province is still singing a siren’s song.

What happened: Alberta has introduced a program to offer skilled tradespeople from outside the province a $5,000 tax credit if they pack up shop and move to Alberta. The province will shift $10 million in its budget to pay for it, making up to 2,000 workers eligible. 

  • Alberta says it's short 20,000 to 30,000 skilled workers. This credit focuses on positions including electricians, pipefitters, welders, and crane operators.

Why it matters: If you’re an Albertan who needs a pipe fitted or an electrician who wants to move to Alberta, kudos. For the rest of the country, Alberta’s push for more skilled trades workers from other provinces comes at a time when said provinces are also running short

Big picture: Alberta has dominated interprovincial migration in Canada like the Chicago Bulls dominated the ’90s NBA. It has added at least 10,000 new people from other provinces for five straight quarters from mid-2022 and through 2023 — the first streak of its kind. 

  • Hordes of new people have translated to hordes of new jobs. Per StatCan, between September 2023 and February 2024, Alberta added 73,000 jobs. 

  • For comparison, the next closest province for new jobs in that span was Nova Scotia (21,700). Some provinces even lost jobs, like Ontario, which was down 15,800 jobs.

Yes, but: Alberta did the rest of Canada a solid by holding back on incentives to lure healthcare workers from other provinces. Alberta’s trade minister said he recognized that all provinces are dealing with healthcare shortages and that the province is collaborating on solutions to benefit the whole country.—QH