What is Calgary's
The economic strategy Calgary in the New Economy sets out to achieve an ambitious vision for the city that creates long-term prosperity and opportunities for all. It is a path forward toward economic diversification and an economy that is inclusive and accessible for everyone.
The strategic framework is comprised of five connected key drivers and goals that support a future-proof, sustainable economy for Calgary. Tested against global trends and through future scenario planning, these five drivers must work in tandem to create enduring prosperity.
Calgary is the place where bright minds and big ideas come together with an unmatched spirit to help solve global challenges.
KEY DRIVERS IN CALGARY'S
Together, we can achieve our vision and the goals in each driver through tangible transformational initiatives. These transformational initiatives advance multiple drivers. Find out how progress is measured in the full Calgary in the New Economy economic strategy.
GOAL: HOME TO BRIGHT MINDS
- Be a welcoming city where everyone can grow their careers.
- Provide adaptive, future-focused learning opportunities that empower life-long skills development.
- Attract people who want to make a difference, create solutions and change the world.
- EDGEUP and digital skills training
- Live Tech, Love Life
GOAL: A CREATIVE HUB
- Build an environment where Calgary companies can accelerate and scale to compete globally.
- Be a magnet for innovative and creative thinkers by investing in development and attraction opportunities.
- Accelerate real-world application of research and development through corporate investment and Post-Secondary Institution (PSI) collaboration.
GOAL: THE BEST PLACE TO BUILD A LIFE
- Build a city with a net zero economy.
- Create a city where everyone is welcome, safe and able to build a meaningful life.
- Build vibrant, healthy and accessible communities.
- Be known as an inviting city with year-round experiences for everyone to enjoy.
- Greater Downtown Plan
- Climate Resilience Strategy
- Experience Economy
- Nighttime Economy
BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT DRIVER
GOAL: TOP LOCATION FOR BUSINESS
- Build a globally and digitally connected city.
- Be a place where businesses are encouraged to test and use technology and data to start, grow, and thrive.
- Champion efficient and effective policies supporting business practices.
GOAL: AN ICONIC CITY
- Demonstrate Calgary is a vibrant and inclusive community with a global perspective.
- Tell a unified story to strengthen consistent and competitive identity here and everywhere.
- Share Calgary’s story as an ambitious city full of energy, optimism and opportunity.
- Calgary Film Commission
- Collaborative brand initiatives
- Influencing reputation and perceptions
- Unified storytelling
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is an economic strategy and why is it important?
Simply put, a city-level economic strategy creates a framework for organizations within a city, including community and business members, civic partners and all levels of government, to intentionally work towards economic prosperity for all citizens both within a city, including those is surrounding areas and Indigenous communities in the region.
An economic strategy ensures that we are always future-looking, assessing the landscape for potential risks and opportunities for Calgary. It creates shared priorities and goals for all community members to work towards to ensure our city’s economy continues to grow and we continue to be an opportunity-rich city.
2. How long is this strategy in place for and how is it updated?
The strategy is a multi-year strategy as changes to an economy and economic impacts are long-term transitions requiring consistent investment over time. The strategy is reviewed regularly based on multiple factors, including but not limited to, national, international, and local economic landscape world/global events, progress on the strategy and time elapsed since the strategy was last updated.
When developing the strategy several potential futures and outcomes were considered, and the priorities weighed against those scenarios. This process created confidence that the economic drivers and the corresponding priorities in the strategy are the right ones to move Calgary’s economy forward in a future-proofed, resilient way for the foreseeable future. By testing the strategy with potential futures, we are exploring the implications of unexpected events on Calgary’s economy.
This testing is done on a consistent basis to keep pace with the constantly changing economic landscape and potential impacts.
3. How was the economic strategy developed?
The current iteration of the city’s economic strategy was developed in 2018 and refreshed in 2022 based on pressure-testing with the community in 2021. It is good practice to review strategies at regular intervals to evaluate the relevance, resilience, and their adaptability. With disruptions exacerbated by world challenges such as COVID-19 and the fall of oil prices, it was time to see if Calgary’s strategy was still addressing the needs of Calgarians.
In 2021 and 2022 over 720 community members were engaged through online surveys, open houses, and focus groups. Feedback and learnings from these engagements has led to the current version of the strategy.
4. What is Calgary’s economic strategy trying to achieve and why?
“Calgary is the place where bright minds and big ideas come together with an unmatched spirit to help solve global challenges”. This is the vision of Calgary in the New Economy. The economic strategy is a framework for our city to work in a coordinated, interconnected way, in line with other key strategies and City priorities (eg. City Council priorities, Downtown Strategy, Climate Strategy, ImagineCalgary, etc.), to achieve the vision.
Everyone in the city has a role to play, regardless of sector/area of expertise/interest. The work we do, how we show up, our own goals and work align in some way with the different priorities within the economic strategy. The strategy aims to highlight points of intersection, ensuring we’re all on the same page while collectively and intentionally working towards outlined priorities.
The strategy is also a tool that allows for creative collaborations and collisions between organizations that may not have thought about working together before. It brings people together.
5. Who is involved in achieving Calgary's economic strategy?
There are numerous community and business members from different sectors that are involved in achieving Calgary’s economic strategy. Not to mention all levels of government. These groups advance the goals and priorities of the economic strategy through work within their organizations and/or through supporting with and working on Transformational Initiatives. Please see the Calgary in the New Economy annual progress report (available on Monday 23, 2023) for a more complete list of who’s involved.
Examples of a small selection of organizations and how they’re involved:
- Calgary Arts Development Association – supporting Calgary’s goal to be an inviting city with year-round experiences for everyone to enjoy by supporting the research being done on the Experience Economy, to better support and fund arts programming for all.
- Platform Calgary – a key partner in building an environment where Calgary companies can accelerate and scale to compete globally, including their contribution to the development of an Innovation District in Calgary.
- City of Calgary – advancing several areas of the economic strategy through various departments, including championing efficient and effective policies supporting business practices by reviewing permitting processes and developing resources to better address needs of business owners.
- Downtown Association – creating a city where everyone is welcome, safe and able to build a meaningful life by advancing the work of the Greater Downtown Plan.
- YYC Calgary International Airport – building a globally and digitally connected city, both by being a transportation hub for direct flights but also cargo deliveries.
While every Calgarian may not be directly involved, the impact of the economic strategy and its transformational initiatives reaches all Calgarians. If you’d like to see how you can be involved, please see below: How can I/my organization get involved?
6. What are some examples of work advanced by the economic strategy?
There are several transformational initiatives that are in place, and others in the works, that address priorities from multiple drivers from the economic strategy to advance the goals within. Listed below are just a few examples of those initiatives involved in moving the needle forward in supporting Calgary’s economic growth and prosperity. These initiatives are not static – as we evolve and advance as a city there will be new, more initiatives to work on together.
- Work-integrated learning
- EDGE UP & digital skills training
- Live Tech, Love Life
- Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund (OCIF)
- Trade Accelerator Program YYC (TAP YYC)
- Greater Downtown Plan
- Climate Resilience Strategy
- Experience Economy
- Living Labs and pilot areas
- Sector-specific permitting supports
- Open Calgary
- Film-friendly tax incentives
- Calgary Film Commission
7. How is progress measured and how often?
All the work we do collectively advances the priorities within the strategy. On an annual basis, Calgary Economic Development, in partnership with many community organizations across the city, reports on progress towards achievement of the strategy. Progress is measured both qualitatively, through stories of ways our city drove economic development across the five drivers of the strategy (talent, innovation, business environment, livability and brand), and quantitatively, through key performance indicators outlined in the strategy.
Calgary in the New Economy broadens the way we see and measure our city’s economy. A holistic view of an economy recognizes several components make up a prosperous economy. Factors such as how the people in a city learn, quality of life, the recognition and perception of a place, and innovativeness of a place. National governments around the world, like Scotland and New Zealand, have begun to look holistically at their country’s well-being rather than simply economic indicators.
This approach has been taken with Calgary’s economic strategy. While economic impacts are tracked and measured, other impacts are tracked, including but not limited to:
- Economic participation of newcomers
- Education levels
- Quality of life perceptions
- Accessible recreation programs and participation
- Physical and digital connectivity
- Number of venture deals and capital investments
Calgary Economic Development is responsible for annual reporting on progress, including qualitative and quantitative measures, every May and presented to City Council. Year over year KPI data allows us to see trends and patterns. We can learn from both the areas where we’re doing well and in those that have room for improvement to inform programs, initiatives, etc. to support continued growth and progress.
A copy of the annual progress report will be available on the website for review on May 23, 2023.
8. What is Calgary Economic Development’s role in Calgary in the New Economy?
Calgary Economic Development is the steward of the economic strategy. This includes ensuring the strategy is resilient and relevant, reporting on progress and supporting organizations across the city, including community and business members, civic partners and all levels of government achieve the vision set out in the strategy.
Calgary in the New Economy is not Calgary Economic Development’s strategy, it is Calgary’s economic strategy. As the city’s economic strategy, it is a community effort where realizing the vision and outcomes outlined within Calgary in the New Economy is the work of all Calgarians.
9. Why should Calgarians care about the economic strategy?
All Calgarians contribute to and are impacted by the economic strategy. The economic strategy features key drivers and priorities within each driver critical for the successful growth of Calgary’s economy. As people who live, work, and play within this amazing city, it is important to know community and business members, civic partners, and all levels of government are actively working towards achieving these priorities.
The strategy also includes key performance indicators to measure progress. These are important indicators to see how well our city is doing in a diverse range of areas, not just those that are traditionally talked about when thinking of economic prosperity. Data around metrics like perceptions of safety, affordable housing, accessibility, diversity, skills training, connectivity, and growth in different sectors tells a more comprehensive story about our city’s economy than gross domestic product or employment data. In the end, driving towards these priorities and outcomes makes Calgary a great place to live for everyone, those already here and those that will make their home here in the future.
10. How can I/my organization get involved?
Beyond learning and understanding the economic priorities, organizations can get involved in Calgary in the New Economy in a variety of ways:
- Complete the Calgary in the New Economy survey.
- Attend quarterly New Economy LIVE virtual events.
- Add your events to the Calgary Economic Development events page for visibility
- Interact with us on social media: LinkedIn | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube
- Connect with us directly through email if there are specific areas of the strategy that interest your organization, including supporting with a transformational initiative.
- Incorporate priorities and key performance indicators from the strategy into your own organizational priorities and metrics when possible.
11. When the strategy is updated how do I ensure I’m consulted?
The strategy is revisited every few years, depending on what’s happening in the world. Feedback on the strategy is collected regularly and open to anyone. Please contribute your thoughts through the Calgary in the New Economy survey.
Through the survey you can indicate your desire to be contacted during future community consultations and revisions of the strategy.
12. I can’t find the answer to my question here.
If you feel your question was not addressed on this page please feel free to reach out to us through the Calgary in the New Economy survey or directly through email at [email protected].
Commonly asked questions will also be added to this page as they are identified.
YOUR VOICE MATTERS, CALGARY
As the community’s economic strategy, Calgary in the New Economy evolves through continuous engagement with Calgarians. Share your insight and feedback on the right path forward for our city through this 5-minute survey.
HOW WILL YOU TRANSFORM CALGARY? ⬇️
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IS A COLLABORATIVE EFFORT AND ALL CALGARIANS PLAY A PART.
We are committed to supporting meaningful action towards Indigenous Reconciliation and the removal of systemic barriers to opportunity for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
This is an exciting time to be in Calgary and we invite you to be part of the future.Drop us a line