Courts, social services win in Alberta budget; students face tuition increases

Courts, social services win in Alberta budget; students face tuition increases
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EDMONTON — Alberta’s United Conservative government tabled its first budget Thursday. Here is a look at who might be pleased and who won’t be so happy:

WINNERS

Bibliophiles: Government to maintain library service grant funding at $37 billion.

Courts: Province to hire 50 new prosecutors and increase access to drug treatment courts.

Social services: More money to go to address human trafficking, sexual exploitation and caseload pressures in Community and Social Services.

Hungry students: School nutrition program to be expanded with $15.5 million to schools and $3 million for non-profits.

Patients: $160 million in increased funding for mental-health and addictions treatment, opioid response and palliative care.

LOSERS

Post-secondary students: Tuition freeze to be lifted. One percentage point increase in student loan interest rates.

Smokers: Cost of a carton of cigarettes to rise $5 to $55. Plans for a future tax on vaping products.

People with special needs: Province to end inflation indexing for special needs programs such as the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped.

South Edmonton residents: A new hospital on the capital city’s south side is to be delayed three years to 2030.

Short-term renters: A tourism levy is to be introduced on short-term rentals such as Airbnbs.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 24, 2019.

The Canadian Press

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