The province’s Finance Minister says we are facing the most significant economic challenge of our generation.

Travis Toews announced Thursday (Aug. 27) Alberta’s first quarter report for this fiscal year forecasts a deficit at $24.2 billion, showing the devastating economic impacts of both COVID-19 and a crash in oil prices.

Toews says these numbers are incredibly sobering to all of us, stressing that if left unchecked, they predict a grim reality for Albertans.

“We are facing the most significant economic challenge of our generation. To deal with this challenge, our government is developing a path forward – a path of economic recovery that will see job creation, diversification and stability restored to Alberta’s finances,” said Toews.

The updated economic forecast shows the pandemic has negatively affected business investment, oil production and consumer spending.

Toews also blamed the opposition New Democrats  for failing to control the cost of government during their four years running the province. “Alberta was and will remain the highest spending of the provinces with the highest per-capita costs for health care and without better outcomes. With a pandemic and economic crisis, those high costs have driven the results I’m presenting today.”

The UCP government’s fiscal update suggests Alberta’s economy is expected to contract by 8.8% in 2020, the largest decline in modern-day history and a decrease of 11.3% points from the budget forecast.