Alberta Premier Jason Kenney delivers his address to the Alberta United Conservative Party annual general meeting in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019. Albertans will get a look at the province’s biggest deficit in history when the government releases its fiscal and economic update today. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney delivers his address to the Alberta United Conservative Party annual general meeting in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019. Albertans will get a look at the province’s biggest deficit in history when the government releases its fiscal and economic update today. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley

Low energy prices, COVID crisis leave Alberta with $24.2B deficit

Unemployment rate, now about 12%, is expected to remain at near double-digit levels well into next year

Alberta’s first-quarter fiscal update says the double blow of collapsing oil prices and the COVID-19 crisis have pushed the province into a historic deficit of $24.2 billion.

The red ink Finance Minister Travis Toews is predicting for 2020-21 is more than triple what the United Conservative government projected in its February budget.

The value of everything Albertans produce is forecast to drop by nearly nine per cent.

The unemployment rate, now about 12 per cent, is expected to remain at near double-digit levels well into next year.

The government says the economy will start to bounce back next year, but it won’t be enough to make up for the ground lost in 2020.

The Conference Board of Canada said this week that Alberta will be the hardest hit province economically this year with an 11 per cent contraction in GDP.

The Canadian Press

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