Task Force

Define the Decade

A Framework for Prosperity for Albertans

What does a good life in Alberta look like in the next decade? We’re embarking on a journey to explore how we as businesses, Albertans, and policy makers purposefully co-create a good and prosperous life for everyone through a competitive, inclusive, and sustainable economy by the next decade.

Alberta’s economy has been hit hard over the past few years. Many question the future prosperity and vibrancy of Alberta. But we know our best days are in front of us if we plan for them on purpose. 

The time is now to think deeply and strategically about our future. 

Define the Decade is a major project to create both a vision and economic framework that will define the next decade of Alberta’s future and look to build Alberta into a place where all who call this place home have security, belonging, and opportunity to live a good life.

Alberta’s Future—The Story So Far

This project is a journey to explore what Alberta’s future can look like and how we create this future, together. Here you will find the latest releases as we move along this journey.

Our story contains four distinct chapters, each representing a phase of this project and a step forward in building the future of our dreams. Below you can see the progress of the project to date.

  • Chapter 1: Where We Are Today—This chapter provides an overview of Alberta’s economy as it stands today. (Released December 2021)
  • Chapter 2: What We’re Up Against—The chapter details the major global trends and forces that are at play and how these will impact the pathway to achieve our vision for our future. (Released February 2022)
  • Chapter 3: Where We Want to Go—This chapter summarizes the key insights from our broad engagement with Albertans (Released March 2022)
  • Chapter 4: How We Will Get ThereThis chapter concludes our story with our vision for our collective future and outlines the pathway we’re recommending to ensure that business and people have everything they need to thrive in Alberta. (Coming in 2022)

This will be updated frequently as we complete each chapter. If you would like to be among the first to receive updates on this project, subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter.

Chapter 1: Where We Are Today

This chapter shares the story of Alberta’s economy—our strengths, performance, and key challenges. Below, you can explore an overview of Alberta’s economy as well as fast snapshots of some of the sectors in Alberta.

Alberta's Economy: An Overview

In this report, we look at a wide variety of indicators to provide a high-level, but comprehensive overview of what Alberta’s economy comprises and how well we are performing. The full report can be downloaded at the button below; however, if you are interested in just one or two aspects, please see individual links below.

Individual Sections

Alberta’s RankingEconomic GrowthMajor IndustriesLabour ForceTrade & ExportInvestment & GrowthPoverty & InequalityConsumers & HouseholdsPopulation & Demographics

Alberta's Economy: Sector Snapshots

These snapshots provide a quick dashboard of key indicators—from GDP to employment—of some of the sectors in the province. Each snapshot also provides a SWOT analysis summarizing each sector’s strengths and weaknesses as well as the opportunities and challenges facing it.

Chapter 2: What We're Up Against

Alberta does not exist in the world alone. It exists in a complex, interconnected, and ever-evolving system of economies and trade, population shifts and immigration, and increasing polarization and populism, among others.

Whether it’s the rise of China, the need to accelerate decarbonization, the importance of addressing economic and social inequities, or the continued disruption of digital innovation, there are global forces and challenges that we must face in order to build a plan that acknowledges what we are up against as we identify the opportunities for our future and understand Alberta’s place in the world.

And while these trends, forces, and challenges may be global in nature and not unique to Alberta, the implications of them and our responses to them, are.

The reports in this chapter outline some of those trends and forces; discuss how Alberta can compete and win in a world of complex geopolitics, protectionism, and new megaregions; and explore how these force could upend traditional thinking about attracting capital, people, and business.

Global Trends & Forces Impacting Alberta's Future

This report dives into four major global forces that are changing how our world looks and works—from digital disruption to climate change—and explores 10 key implications of these forces for Alberta and what we need to consider as we navigate the global shifts and disruptions in the movement of people, goods, and ideas.

Alberta’s Place in the World: The Changing Context of International Trade

Produced in collaboration with the Canada West Foundation, this report looks at the world in which Alberta exists and how emerging trends—such as the rise of China, nationalist trade policies such as “Buy American”, and the growth of “megaregions,” among others—will impact Alberta’s trading environment and future economic growth.

Chapter 3: Where We Want to Go

Much is often made about the tensions and divisions in Alberta about who we were, who we are, and who we want to be. However, the reality is that when it comes to what Albertans want in their future, there is much more that unites us than divides us.

Yes, tensions do exist—and we must acknowledge those we work to create not only a vision for our future but our economic framework in which to achieve that vision.

In Chapter 3 of our Define the Decade journey, we look toward this future and explore what it looks like, according to Albertans themselves.

Between August and December 2021, we spoke to thousands of Albertans through our Task Force, Prosperity Advisory Committee, stakeholder interviews, province-wide polling, and focus groups to ask them one question, “What does a good life look like to you?”

The report below is the answer to that question.

The Good Life: What Albertans Want for Their Future

This report summarizes all our research and engagement work to highlight what Albertans want for their future; the challenges that stand in the way of achieving that future; and the values, attitudes, and beliefs that underpin our aspirations.

The top findings:

  1. Albertans want both social and economic prosperity.
  2. There are real tensions in the province, but there is more that unites us than divides us.
  3. Above all, Albertans want to create opportunity for everyone.

Some key highlights:

  • Albertans broadly agree on what they envision for the future. They want a future that is both socially and economically prosperous; it is inclusive and innovative and creates opportunity for everyone.
  • Alberta’s famed entrepreneurial spirit and “can do” attitude are true and deeply embedded values and are essential ingredients to building the future that Albertans envision. 87% agree there is a strong entrepreneurial spirit in Alberta.
  • Albertans are not satisfied with our reputation—only 39% feel we have a good reputation in Canada.
  • When business does well, everyone benefits—81% agree with this sentiment. Albertans want business to play a broad role in prosperity.
  • Energy “&”: Albertans are generally supportive of the energy industry (70% feel the economy will suffer if we move away), and they also want to see expansion—98% rate diversifying the economy as a priority.
  • Optimistic about their future: 65% are optimistic about Alberta’s prospects in 10 years, a number that is increasing.
  • Ultimately, much is often made about the tensions among Albertans, and while these do exist, we discovered that when it comes to what Albertans want in their future, we share more common ground than not.

Alberta’s future is up to us. Do you have a Big Idea for Alberta’s future?

This project is designed for Albertans, by Albertans, and we want your input!

Whether it’s a groundbreaking policy idea, innovative initiative, or just some new thinking, we want to hear your Big Idea to make Alberta an even better place to live, work, and play for everybody.

About the Project

Define the Decade is a major research and engagement project that looks to explore how businesses, Albertans and policy makers come together to make life better for Albertans over the next decade.

Ultimately, this project looks to do two things:

  1. Create a unifying vision between Albertans and the business community of what a good life and great Alberta looks like 10 years from now; and
  2. Develop the framework and pathways to get to that good life, including the economic environment needed to create investment and job creation which will support improved prosperity for Albertans.

For Albertans, By Albertans—Research & Engagement Process

 

The project includes a comprehensive research and engagement process. Over the next several months, the Task Force will:

  1. Engage a diversity of Albertans from across the province and many walks of life, in a variety of research methodologies to learn more about their values, priorities, challenges, and views and what they see as a good life.
  2. Identify and catalogue Alberta’s assets, strengths, and advantages.
  3. Look around the world to identify economic opportunities, competitive advantages, and best practices.
  4. Develop a vision and framework to help all Albertans thrive.

We will release interim reports and research throughout the process, with the final report due in early 2022.

If you would like to stay up to date on the progress of the project, be the first to receive new research or reports, or learn more about how you can be involved, sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter here.

Research & Engagement Framework

  • Engaging the General Public through random and representative polling, qualitative research and targeted interviews
  • Engaging BCA Members and Business Leaders through member communications, events, and interviews
  • Engaging Prosperity-Focused Organizations and External Partners including existing research, governments, think tanks, and other associations
  • Engaging Diverse perspectives, life experiences, and other experts through the Prosperity Advisory Committee

CEO Task Force

This project will be guided and supported by a Task Force, composed of Alberta’s top business leaders including:

Susannah Pierce (Co-Chair)

President & Country Chair
Shell Canada

Cory Janssen (Co-Chair)

Co-Founder & Co-CEO
AltaML

Alex Pourbaix

President & CEO
Cenovus Energy

Al Monaco

President & CEO
Enbridge

Angela Lekatsas

Corporate Director

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

The Prosperity Advisory Committee is a parallel advisory group to the CEO Task Force. The group is composed of business and community leaders and experts from across the province and provides insight, advice, and guidance on the vision and framework of the project. 

Anila Lee Yuen

President & CEO
Centre for Newcomers

Charles Buchanan

CEO / Co-Founder & Board Director
Technology Helps / Calgary Black Chambers

Dr. Matthew Corkum

Speaker, Disability & Inclusion Advocate
disABILITY

Gary St. Amand

CEO
Bissell Centre Edmonton

Jaime Rogers

Manager of the Homeless and Housing Development Department
Medicine Hat Community Housing Society

Ken Boessenkool

J.W. McConnell Professor of Practice / Research Fellow
Max Bell School of Public Policy at McGill University / CD Howe Institute

Lars Hallstrom

Director
Prentice Institute, University of Lethbridge

Marcela Mandeville

CEO
Alberta Women Entrepreneurs

Marlene Poitras

Former Regional Chief
Assembly of First Nations of Alberta

Megan Langpap (Steiestol)

Manager, Strategic Communications, Communications & Engagement
Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo

Saul Benary

Board Chair
Alberta LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce

Tyler Bedford

Director of Communications and Relations
Building Trades of Alberta

Contact

For more information on this project or how you can get involved, please contact one of our project leads:

Scott Crockatt, VP, Communications & External Relations
scrockatt@businesscouncilab.com

Mike Holden, VP, Policy & Chief Economist
MHolden@businesscouncilab.com

If you are making a media inquiry, please contact Media@BusinessCouncilAB.com.

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In the spirit of truth, reconciliation, and respect, we honour and acknowledge the lands upon which we live and work as guests, including the traditional territories of the First Nations in Treaties 6, 7, and 8 and the citizens of the Metis Nation of Alberta. We thank the First Peoples of this land, which we now call Alberta, for their generations of stewardship of the land, and we seek to walk together in the spirit of truth and reconciliation to build a shared future for all in Alberta.
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