Opinion: Global investment growth strengthens Alberta’s economy  

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It’s easy to be discouraged by global events like international conflict, climate change, and supply chain and food security challenges. These realities affect the international community and have impacts close to home. But focusing on these trends alone can mean overlooking that Alberta is on the leading edge of solutions to address these challenges, and new global investment is playing a pivotal role in the prosperity of Alberta communities.  

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With talent in energy, technology and agriculture, ideas come to life in Alberta. As a prime investment destination, Alberta is rapidly gaining the knowledge, skills, and technology to enhance our ability to build a resilient, sustainable economy. 

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Don’t think about food shortages without learning that GoodLeaf Farms, Canada’s largest indoor vertical farm, is creating a reliable, sustainable local food source with a base in Calgary. Don’t think about climate change and economic diversification without learning about the major global companies that are leading the development of low-carbon technologies, including Shell and Mitsubishi, ITOCHU and Petronas.  

As an emerging hub for technology, Google’s Deep Mind and Amazon Web Services call Alberta home. In a few short years, EY Canada established a finance centre of excellence, RBC set up an innovation centre, and Mphasis established a delivery centre and Quantum City Centre of Excellence with post-secondary institutions. Four unicorn companies, startups valued at more than $1 billion, show that Alberta has the momentum to build on in the years ahead.  

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Our role at Invest Alberta is to attract high-impact, high-value investment and jobs. Every day we promote Alberta as a destination of choice with skilled workers, business-friendly policies, abundant resources and a “make it happen” attitude. Since 2020, we’ve worked with economic development agencies, post-secondary institutions and industry to attract $20 billion, 7,100 construction jobs, and close to 8,000 permanent jobs for Albertans in diverse sectors.  

We have teams in Asia, Europe, the U.K. and the U.S. collaborating with companies designing solutions to global problems — and looking for the right place to expand. This gives us unique insight into the opportunities ahead that can further diversify the economy, flow jobs and revenue into Alberta, and eventually protect us from the boom-and-bust cycles.  

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Our research of thousands of capital investors, senior decision-makers and entrepreneurs around the world shows that the most important factors in investment decisions are cost, ease and speed of doing business, along with the ability to attract high-quality talent and a desirable place to live. Alberta has these advantages.  

Investment intentions continue to be strong. In 2023, we expect to see commitments to large-scale projects that will help drive Alberta’s long-term economic development. More clean tech is on the horizon, following on the heels of companies like Air Products’ net-zero hydrogen energy complex that promises to create more than 2,500 jobs and bolster our role as a leader in Canada’s hydrogen economy.  

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While Edmonton and Calgary rank among the top places to live and work in the world, the advantages Alberta offers extends beyond the borders of our biggest cities. We continue to collaborate with rural communities to win projects so all regions can thrive. Projects like the plant protein facility in Strathmore and the net-zero hemp manufacturing hub in Vegreville ensure rural regions are not left behind.  

Alberta has shown leadership in tough times by positioning itself for the next era of growth. As one of the world’s most attractive places to do business, our collaborative approach to investment attraction will continue to serve us well. The future holds meaningful job-creating investment that will diversify Alberta’s economy and continue to deliver value to the lives of Albertans. 

Rick Christiaanse is CEO of Invest Alberta. Established as a Crown corporation, Invest Alberta promotes the province as an investment destination of choice to attract high-value and high-impact investors and projects. Since 2020, Invest Alberta has supported the commitment of over $20 billion in investment that created more than 10,000 new high-value jobs for Albertans. 



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