Alberta Economy Creating Housing and Employment Growth

Recently Alberta’s economy has been performing very well, in particular in relation to other provinces and most of the US.  A lot of this can be attributed to a strong oil industry in our province, however, there are other underlying policies that help as well, such as relatively low taxes, a well-educated population, good sized centres in both Calgary and Edmonton, and a stable democracy.

Two examples of the success of Alberta’s economy are found in recent articles:

  1. Year-over-year employment growth highest in Alberta for March: Almost 65,000 jobs added since this time last year.
  2. Edmonton Housing Starts Jump

This is great news for our economy and lifts the fortunes of a number of different industries.

That said, it also poses a unique challenge for Alberta businesses who are seeking to attract and retain new employees.  Some questions they might find themselves asking are:

  • How can we compete for talent without breaking the bank?
  • How do we avoid rapidly escalating salaries like the last boom, while still being able to compete for great people?
  • What can we offer our existing staff or new hires that’s unique, different, valuable?

One option many employers may not have had access to before that can be a unique part of any good compensation plan is a Group Employee Mortgage Plan.  Essentially these plans can function as part of a benefits or compensation plan, allowing an employer to offer different classes of employees varying levels of mortgage subsidies, that, implemented properly, are allowed by the CRA and can be quite tax efficient for both the employer and employee.  Employers looking to shore up their HR practices in preparation for another labour shortage should consider the value of a mortgage subsidy program.

There are important guidelines to follow and rules that CRA requires employers to abide by when implementing one of these plans, much like other benefits.  When implemented properly with the help of a firm specializing in these programs, they can be a great attraction and retention tool and offer the employees a far more compelling benefit than a bonus, raise, or more dental work.