Considering only the expenditures made by the provincial and local administrations in relation to total expenditures, it will be noted that on average, in Canada 65.2% of expenditures are dedicated to the two main functions of education and social services and health. Furthermore, in a comparison of provinces, Quebec ranks first in terms of the share of budget allocations earmarked for social services and health (45.7%). This province is followed by Ontario (44.5%) and New Brunswick (44.1%), while Alberta (37.5%), Saskatchewan (37.2%) and Prince Edward Island (37.2%) occupy the bottom three positions. These results are due in part to differences in the social service coverage provided from one province to the other. For example, Quebec’s system of childcare centres, which has no equivalent elsewhere in Canada, was granted $900.9 M in FY 2008-2009 – a fact having a major impact on the province’s health and social service expenditures.
Respecting education expenditures, Nova Scotia is the province in which the proportion of total expenditures dedicated to education by the provincial and local administrations is highest (24.7%). It is followed by Prince Edward Island (24.5%), Ontario (23.8%), Saskatchewan (23.5%) and Alberta (23.4%). These results tend to show that the provinces that allocate the smallest proportion of total expenditures to social services and health – in this case, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island – are also among those where spending on education is highest relative to their total expenditures. It is also worth noting that the same provinces are those for which the share of other expenditures relative to the total are highest : 39.3% in Saskatchewan, 39.1% in Alberta and 38.3 in Prince Edward Island.
Concerning the expenditures of provincial and local administrations as a percentage of GDP, Quebec continues to devote the greatest share of its spending on social services and health (16.2%) – a figure that surpasses that of New Brunswick, which ranks second at 15%, and Canada, at 11.8%. In contrast, the provincial and local administrations in Alberta spend only 7.5% on social services and health as a share of the province’s GDP.
When accounting for combined expenditures on education, health, and social services, Quebec continues to take top place in terms of a proportion of its GDP, at 22.8%. Moreover, this figure is substantially higher than that obtained for all of Canada, at 17.8%. In addition, as was true in the case of its health and social service expenditures, Alberta is the province that spends the least – relative to its GDP – on combined education, health, and social services: 12.2%. This figure is almost less than one half of that reported for Quebec. However, it is important to note that the results given for Alberta are closely related to the scale of its GDP. Thus, when the expenditures of provincial and local administrations are established on a per capita basis, Alberta spends $8,165 on education, health, and social services per capita, whereas Quebec spends $8,824.