Calgary Economic Development is in the business of facilitating prosperity.
We are conduits, connectors, catalysts and storytellers for an entrepreneurial and innovative city. We collaborate with stakeholders to advance economic growth and diversification to create opportunities for all Calgarians and to build a vibrant, sustainable community.
As stewards of the economic strategy for Calgary, Building on our Energy, our efforts are driven by long-term goals. Our job is to connect people with the resources to help their careers and businesses, thrive in new locations or markets, and feel at home in our community.
We work with businesses, governments, educators and community partners to position Calgary globally as a location for business investment, which in turn fosters trade and supports our highly skilled workforce.
|Accelerate sector development & diversification||Target||Actual|
|Trade and investment deals supported||13||1|
|Direct/indirect jobs created/retained||1,300||1,561|
|Film production||$160 M||$165.5 M|
|Inspire stakeholder collaboration|
|Completion of economic strategy tactics||20%||37%|
|Core indicators improved||30%||7%|
|Non-core funding||$1.87 M||$11.5 M|
|New employer WORKshift clients||30||2|
|Enchance Calgary's Image|
|Canadians with a favourable impression of Calgary||70%||75%|
|Build an authentic brand for CED|
|Aided awareness of CED||85%||85%|
|CED clients use research services||30%||40%|
As unemployment rose above 10 per cent and over 25 per cent of downtown office space was empty, our focus in 2016 was to promote Calgary as a talent hub, accelerate diversification, attract corporate headquarters, address office vacancies and develop an innovation ecosystem.
Our efforts are being supported with $10 million in additional funding over three years from The City of Calgary, Government of Alberta and Government of Canada. The Opportunity Calgary funds will help diversify the economy and implement a strategic, coordinated and sustained campaign. As part of the changes at Calgary Economic Development to enhance organizational excellence, we put in place a three-year strategy. It establishes goals, sets performance metrics and measures progress in five key areas.
In the ongoing development of Building on our Energy: an economic strategy for Calgary, the commitment to strengthening the innovation ecosystem will support future prosperity. This aligns with our efforts to support local businesses and promote our workforce.
Case Study: De Beers
"We looked at a lot of options across Canada. Calgary came out the winner." Kim Truter
CEO De Beers Canada
De Beers considered several options when relocating its Canadian head office but chose Calgary because of the access to its operations, global travel connections, lifestyle, and quality of the workforce.
In a city renowned for energy, it’s people who power Calgary.
A young, well-educated workforce with the highest labour force productivity among Canadian cities and a track record of doing business on a global scale makes Calgary an ideal place for companies to grow.
The availability of people in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields that drive technological innovation is a top attribute in studies that evaluate Calgary’s economic competitiveness.
Even through a downturn, the population continues to grow as people see Calgary as a place of opportunity. Both labour force (907,200) and Calgarians employed (815,500) reached record highs in 2016.
Calgary Economic Development conducted a labour study focused on remote work opportunities to meet employer needs. The Top 20 occupations available are:
Working with stakeholders like Alberta Human Services, we helped laid-off professionals and skilled trade workers with the Re-engage workshops. Experts provided advice on topics ranging from networking to skills enhancement to financial advice.
The Calgary Connector Program engaged underrepresented groups in the workforce and business leaders and led to a record 48 job offers. The Careers in Manufacturing program that provides high school students workplace tours to promote career options, became Careers in Calgary.
Robyn Bews, Executive Director of WORKshift and the Talent Hub initiative, was one of eight Canadians appointed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Expert Panel on Youth Employment.
Innovation will help diversify Calgary’s economy in the areas with the best opportunities for sustained economic competitiveness, resiliency and diversity.
With activity in oil and gas unlikely to return to previous levels, there’s greater focus on opportunities in other sectors and their related technologies. Purposeful diversification will build on the strengths of existing businesses and the skills of our workforce.
Even with diversification, Calgary remains an energy city. Working with post-secondary institutions and governments, companies are pursuing renewable energy and technology advances for greener conventional fuels.
Hainan Airlines’ inaugural non-stop flight from Beijing touched down at YYC International Airport in June. The connection with Hainan, China’s largest private-sector airline, will support over 600 direct and indirect jobs in Calgary.
A dozen film and TV productions were shot in southern Alberta in 2016 including Fargo (Season 3), Heartland (Season 10) and Tin Star. We also hosted 22 familiarization tours for location scouts to facilitate future productions.
Calgary is at a turning point and 2016 saw the implementation of a strategic, coordinated and sustained effort to attract investment and companies.
The multi-year strategy is focused on bringing head offices, branch plants, satellite facilities and regional offices to Calgary.
Available talent and real estate, a low cost of doing business – and quality of life – are selling points for businesses to relocate. We’ve set ambitious goals to attract companies; in 2016, we got 37.
Setting up for success
We hosted 159 events at the Global Business Centre for incoming businesses and local companies. We hosted 26 delegations from Europe, Asia, the Americas and elsewhere and provided temporary offices for 11 companies including Cotopaxi (U.K.) and CLEAResult (U.S.).
The Be Part of the Energy marketing campaign was expanded in 2016 and showcased the Calgarians who are creating game-changing technological advances in business or industry. The messages are inspiring – Calgary is a place where entrepreneurs, creators and innovators succeed. This is the time to invest in Calgary.
Chair Corporate Director
City of Calgary
Tiger Calcium Corp.
Borden Ladner Gervais
City of Calgary
Councillor, Ward 1
Royal Bank of Canada
President & Chief Executive Officer
Commissioner Film, Television & Creative Industries
Vice President Marketing & Communications
Vice President Research & Strategy
Vice President Business Development & Workforce Innovation
Vice President Trade, Investment & Attraction
Chief Financial Officer & Vice President Operations
The Action Calgary corporate partnership program engages business leaders to influence the direction of our city’s economy.