Health funding allocations for 2015–2016

Funding the health system

  • Health’s consolidated expense for 2015–16 is budgeted at $18.9 billion, about $160 million or 0.8% lower than the 2014–15 forecast (excluding debt servicing costs and flood recovery initiatives).
  • Every hour we will spend $2.2 million – almost $52 million per day – to maintain and improve Alberta’s health care system.
  • Total consolidated health spending will account for 39% of Government of Alberta consolidated expense in 2015–16.
  • The Ministry of Health includes the Department of Health, Alberta Health Services (AHS), Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions, and the Health Quality Council of Alberta.
  • These funding allocations are contained in the provincial government budget which is approved each year by the Alberta Legislature.

Alberta Health Services

  • There is $13.4 billion in consolidated expenses budgeted for AHS operations, which is about $300 million lower than the 2014–15 forecast. 
  • A significant portion of AHS funding, $10.9 billion, is provided through base operating funding from the Department of Health to deliver health services and operate health facilities throughout Alberta. This base operating funding amount represents a $370 million reduction from the 2014–15 forecast and is 61% of the department’s budget. 

Physician compensation and development

  • There is a total of $4.6 billion in consolidated expenses budgeted for 2015–16 for physician compensation and development programs. This represents a $119 million or 2.7% increase compared to 2014–15 forecasted consolidated expense.
  • The Department allocates over 23% of its budget, or $4.2 billion, to support physician compensation and development programs. 

Drugs and supplemental health benefits

  • A total of $1.8 billion in consolidated expenses is budgeted in the health system for drugs and supplemental health benefits, including seniors’ health benefit programs, Alberta Aids to Daily Living, outpatient cancer therapy drugs and Specialized High Cost Drugs. 
  • These costs are funded primarily by the Department which allocates over 9% of its budget, or almost $1.7 billion. 

Primary health care and other department-funded health programs

  • $193 million is budgeted by the department to support primary health care and addictions and mental health.
  • Approximately $800 million has been allocated by the Department of Health for several other health system priorities including continuing care initiatives, human tissue and blood services, out of province health services, community and healthy living programs, health research, services provided by health professionals (such as oral surgeons, optometrists and podiatrists), vaccination programs, information systems development and operations, and health services provided in correctional facilities.

Administration and support services

  • A total of $2.3 billion is budgeted for AHS administration and support services.  This represents a decrease of $124 million or 5.1% from the 2014–15 forecast.
  • The majority of these costs represent AHS support services such as building operations, maintenance, security, communications, housekeeping, laundry, food services, patient registration and admission/discharge, information technology and research and education.  

Ministry support services

  • Almost $89 million is budgeted for the strategic management of Alberta’s health system by the Department of Health.

Health spending profile, 2013 to 2020

Image of Health Spending Profile

In Budget 2015, the government is taking steps to address growing health care costs. Read all about Budget 2015

New health levy

Budget 2015 introduces a new Health Care Contribution Levy for Albertans with taxable incomes over $50,000. The new levy will take effect July 1, 2015 and be paid through the personal income tax system and administered by the Canada Revenue Agency.

The new levy will provide the province with an additional source of revenue, and help ensure stable funding for government’s top priorities. The Health Care Contribution Levy is expected to raise $396 million in 2015–16. This amount will rise to about $530 million in 2016–17, the first full fiscal year for which the change will be effective.

For more information, go to