Alberta is just getting started: Visionary plan sets out a pathway to unleash Alberta’s potential for the next decade

CALGARY, June 16, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Alberta is at a crossroads. Years of economic stagnation, unequal prosperity, struggling reputation, and shifting global context have created an imperative for Alberta to reimagine and define its future. Now is that time. After conducting a landmark research and public engagement process engaging thousands of Albertans, a new report released today by the Business Council of Alberta (BCA), charts a new 10-year economic strategy for the province of Alberta.

Entitled Define the Decade: Building Alberta’s Future—Together, this report outlines a reimagined and inspirational vision for Alberta’s future and a plan to unleash our potential—identifying three world-scale “missions” Alberta is uniquely poised to take on:

  1. Feeding Everyone: Sustainable and Healthy Food
  2. Energy Solutions: Low Carbon Energy, Materials, and Minerals
  3. Healthy Lives: Medical and Wellness Advancements

“We can write the next chapter for Alberta, one that is intentional, purposeful, and based on what Albertans from many geographies, identities, sectors, and walks of life want to see,” says Susannah Pierce, President & Country Chair, Shell Canada, and Task Force Co-Chair.  “Through Define the Decade, we heard from thousands of Albertans about what is working in Alberta, what isn’t, and what they want their future to look like.”

Catalysts: To help make it happen, the project recommends two catalysts:

  • Alberta Mission Agency—which would coordinate and advance the Prosperity Mission focus for Alberta. It is the next version of the highly successful Alberta Oil Sands Technology and Research Authority (AOSTRA).
  • Heartland Economic Region—a province-wide collaborative network of communities working to play on the same level as similar mega-regional economic development initiatives in North America.

“In all our research and engagement, one of the most consistent things we heard was that Albertans want a good plan for our future. Much of the last decade has been incredibly uncertain and frustrating for Albertans, but we know that Albertans are optimistic and see the potential here. What they are looking for is a plan to meet that potential,” says Adam Legge, President of the Business Council of Alberta. “Define the Decade is that plan. Alberta is just getting started.”

Define the Decade—What’s in the Report

Define the Decade is both a vision for the future and the plan to achieve the vision. The report consists of three broad components: 

  1. The vision explains what Albertans want in their future. It was created by Albertans, for Albertans. Despite all the talk of division in the province, Albertans are remarkably united on this point. They envision Alberta in the next decade, as a place of belonging, a place of opportunity, and a place of solutions.
  2. The second is a series of prosperity missions, which are targeted squarely at opportunities where Alberta is uniquely positioned to provide solutions to big global issues such as A) feeding the world, B) providing low carbon energy, materials and materials, and C) enabling healthier lives, while creating a competitive economy and building prosperity for all Albertans.
  3. The third is a series of prosperity pillars—areas in which we need to take action and create the conditions for success. Each of the six pillars contains a short list of needle-moving ideas like: developing an Alberta Accessibility Act; creating an Alberta Workforce Development Strategy; launching an Alberta Venture Capital Investment Fund; and overhauling federal and provincial regulatory and approvals processes to attract and accelerate business investment. 

This vision and plan are also supported by a series of imperatives; the requirements to successful implementation. The imperatives include Good Governance, Unity & Collaboration, Urgency, Competitiveness, and Reconciliation, to name a few.

“For me, this is about my kids,” says Cory Janssen, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, AltaML, and Task Force Co-Chair. “I want to make sure there is as much opportunity for them when they graduate high school as there was for me. Define the Decade gives us the pathway to do just that—and to make the world a better place at the same time.” 

 “Immigration is a critical component of how we create a prosperous society, and also part of what makes Alberta so special,” says Anila Lee Yuen, President & CEO of the Centre for Newcomers. “Alberta has the chance to create the opportunities that will attract talent from around the world, and to ensure that those newcomers are supported in a way that provides access to a high quality of life. Moving the needle on this is collaborative work, and that’s what this project is all about.”

 “Alberta has so many opportunities to solve big, humanity-scale challenges; to create a society of real and shared prosperity. This is about long-termism,” says Mac Van Wielingen, Board Chair, Business Council of Alberta. “This project is more than a vision or even a plan. It’s an invitation to all Albertans, wherever you are in the province and whatever you do, to help shape the next decade of Alberta’s future. Alberta’s best days are still ahead of us. It is up to us—all of us—to work together to define our shared future and ensure that everyone can live a good life here.”

 Research & Engagement Process

Define the Decade was created for Albertans, by Albertans. It is one of the most significant research and engagement initiatives in the province’s recent history. Since last year, BCA has engaged thousands of Albertans to hear from them on what they want for the future and how we achieve that plan together. The project:

  • Surveyed 1,200 Albertans on what they viewed as a good life, what they wanted for the future, and what they value
  • Engaged Albertans across the province in 15 focus groups involving regular people in major cities, rural citizens, high school students, university students, Indigenous Elders and leaders, post-secondary education leaders, technology sector leaders, business executives, and more
  • Conducted over 125 stakeholder discussions with heads of organizations across Alberta including business, government, non-profit and education
  • Engaged over 100 chief executives of Alberta’s most significant companies in working sessions and interviews
  • Received hundreds of “big ideas” submitted directly from Albertans
  • Developed a 21st century profile of Alberta’s economy and key sectors
  • Evaluated global trends and forces for their impact on Alberta over the next decade
  • Collaborated with other policy organizations to assess Alberta’s place in the world, looking at changing international trade dynamics and what they mean for Alberta
  • Assessed the strategies of Alberta’s comparable and competitive jurisdictions to understand who we were up against, including British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, Texas, California, and others around the world

This project was led and guided by an Executive Task Force harnessing the experience of leading executives of Alberta’s largest enterprises to provide guidance, leadership, and advice; and a Prosperity Advisory Committee, which is a diverse, parallel advisory group of business, community, labour, and Indigenous leaders, and experts from across the province.

Task Force Members

  • Susannah Pierce, President & Country Chair, Shell Canada (Co-Chair)
  • Cory Janssen, Co-Founder & Co-Chief Executive Officer, AltaML (Co-Chair)
  • Angela Lekatsas, President & CEO, Cervus Equipment (ret.)
  • Colin Gruending, Executive Vice President and President, Liquids Pipelines, Enbridge
  • Drew Zieglgansberger, Executive Vice-President, Natural Gas & Technical Services, Cenovus Energy
  • Jason Pincock, CEO, DynaLIFE
  • John Kousinioris, President & CEO, TransAlta
  • Karen Brookman, President & CEO, WCD
  • Kristi Cawthorn, CEO, Startec Compression & Process
  • Rohit Gupta, President, Rohit Group of Companies
  • Sami Saad, CEO, Fort McKay Group of Companies
  • Scott Bolton, President & CEO, UFA

 Prosperity Advisory Committee Members

  • Anila Lee Yuen, President & CEO, Centre for Newcomers
  • Charles Buchanan, CEO, Technology Helps; Co-Founder & Board Director, Calgary Black Chambers
  • Dr. Lars Halstrom, Director, Prentice Institute, University of Lethbridge
  • Dr. Matthew Corkrum, Speaker, Disability & Inclusion Advocate. disABILITY
  • Gary St. Amand, CEO, Bissell Centre Edmonton
  • Ken Boessenkool, J.W. McConnell Professor of Practice, Max Bell School of Public Policy at McGill University; Research Fellow, CD Howe Institute
  • Marcela Mandeville, CEO, Alberta Women Entrepreneurs
  • Marlene Poitras, Former Regional Chief, Assembly of First Nations of Alberta
  • Megan Langpap, Strategic Communications Manager, Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo
  • Jaime Rogers, Manager of the Homeless and Housing Development Department, Medicine Hat Community Housing Society
  • Saul Benary, Board Chair, Alberta LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce
  • Tyler Bedford, Director, Communications and Relations, Building Trades of Alberta

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