Do Health Care & Education Really Account for 50% of Provincial Government Spending In Canada?

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In a word, yes.

Average spending on health care is now over 40% of all Canadian Provincial expenses:

“…health care spending as a share of program spending and health care spending as a share of the economy, shows clearly that the last 15 years (ie., between 2001 to 2016) saw provincial governments increase health care spending at an unsustainable pace. Indeed, during this period, health care spending grew by 116.4 percent, outpacing growth in other program spending (94.6 percent) and GDP (77.4 percent). It is therefore unsurprising that during the same period, the share of program spending represented by health care for the provinces in total grew from 37.6 percent to 40.1 percent.”  SOURCE 

Average spending on education is about 20% in Canadian Provinces.  Below is a sampling of recent Provincial budget expenditure pie charts.  You can click on these to expand them if you want more detail.

Education and Health Care consume well over half of Alberta’s budget and that is typical.

All provinces are increasing spending on Health Care and Education in both real dollar terms and as a percentage of their budgets, but outcomes are not improving:

“…For Canada as a whole, over the last decade (2006/07 to 2015/16), per-student spending in public schools increased 17.3 percent (once adjustments have been made for inflation). Specifically, per-student education spending in public schools, accounting for changes in prices, increased from $10,901 to $12,791 between 2006/07 and 2015/16.”  SOURCE

“…If increased spending resulted in improved academic performance, we should observe at least marginal improvements. Each year, students in Grades 3 and 6 write provincial exams in reading, writing and math. Fewer than half (49 per cent) of Grade 6 students who wrote the exams met the standard in math exam in 2017-18. This is a further one percentage point decline from the previous year’s dismal results. Grade 3 students fared better, with 61 per cent of students meeting the standard, but this is also down from 67 per cent in 2013/14”  SOURCE

Alberta’s UCP government lead by Jason Kenny is now attempting to deal with the spending crisis you can see in the charts above and below:

“…Alberta spends more on health and education per capita than the Canadian average…” Statistics Canada

Per Capita Government Spending In 2016
Alberta Compared to Canadian Average

Government expense Alberta Canada
$
Health 4,944 4,475
Education 3,047 2,455
Economic affairs 2,112 1,275
Social protection 1,393 1,770
General public services 947 1,658
Public order and safety 762 723
Environmental protection 584 301
Housing and community amenities 352 239
Recreation, culture, and religion 431 349

 

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