Collaboration in Calgary community moves the needle on economic strategy

June 8, 2023
Innovation New Economy Research & Reports
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With a strong, diversified economy, investments in innovation and an enviable quality of life, Calgary saw significant progress in 2022 across all five focus areas of the city’s economic strategy: Talent, Innovation, Livability, Business Environment and Brand.  

Led by Calgary Economic Development, Calgary in the New Economy is a framework developed and owned by the community which outlines a path forward for a resilient Calgary adaptable and prosperous in the face of an evolving economic and social landscape. 

“The momentum we’ve seen in our economic growth has been a testament to the resolve of Calgarians and our commitment to innovation, enhanced learning opportunities and greater diversity,” said Jyoti Gondek, Calgary Mayor.  

“Calgary can look to the future with optimism as we continue to invest in our business environment and enhance our livability. People in our city can see a future for themselves here.”  

The Calgary in the New Economy 2023 Progress Report highlights initiatives and projects undertaken in 2022 by community, business and government partners to advance the priorities within each economic driver.  

“Even while we emerged from a pandemic our community undertook exciting initiatives to help push Calgary’s economy forward,” said Brad Parry, President and CEO, Calgary Economic Development and CEO, Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund. 

“We are proud of what our community accomplished last year. Calgary is one of two cities in Canada with a long-term economic plan guiding us forward. Our city has laid a solid foundation for continued success as we focus on the economic prosperity and quality of life of all Calgarians.” 

Community organizations advance economic strategy with innovation and inclusivity at core of progress 

Innovation, talent development, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Accessibility and Truth and Reconciliation matter more than ever and Calgary spent the past year deepening its commitment on these fronts. 

“Through the Calgary Work Integrated Learning pilot, we are helping connect post-secondary students with real-life work experiences while they are still in school,” said D’Andre Wilson, Executive Director, Calgary Work-Integrated Learning. “Our students are better prepared for their careers and local employers can access Calgary’s future talent earlier.” 

In addition to the Work-Integrated Learning program, other new centres and initiatives launched throughout the year, including the opening of the Platform Innovation Centre in 2022.   

“Calgary is a city that invites and fosters innovation. As a city, the past year has seen record-breaking venture capital dollars and continued support from all levels of government,” said Terry Rock, President and CEO, Platform Calgary. 

Coupled with professionals returning to work in-person, investments in the downtown core continue to encourage creative collisions and a collaborative work environment. 

“Last year brought renewed vibrancy to our downtown as the city and our downtown partners made great strides in multiple vibrancy-building projects,” said Thom Mahler, Director, Downtown Strategy, City of Calgary.  

Alongside a focus on downtown revitalization, the City and community continues to explore how a strong Indigenous economy with an equitable future for Indigenous Peoples, businesses and communities is critical for Calgary’s long-term prosperity.  

“Initiatives like the Indigenous Economic Contribution Study and the Indigenous procurement program are only the beginning of our city’s path towards social and economic reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and the removal of systemic barriers to opportunity,” said Terry Poucette, Team Lead, Indigenous Relations, City of Calgary.  

One of the many partners advancing priorities of Calgary in the New Economy, the Calgary Foundation agrees that a city is only thriving and truly inclusive when everybody feels they belong. In the past year, the foundation stewarded a $1 million investment into University of Calgary’s Indigenous Strategy, ii’taa’poh’to’p, which will be invested in Indigenization of curricula across campus. 

“As a community foundation, we are committed to making real and intentional progress towards dismantling barriers to drive system change, specifically when it comes to racial equity and reconciliation,” said Eva Friesen, President and CEO, Calgary Foundation.  

To further progress towards long-term prosperity for all, building Calgary’s brand for Calgarians and visitors alike emerged as a key focus throughout the year. 

“A compelling city brand plays a vital role in attracting visitors, driving economic growth and creating a lasting impression on travelers,” said Jeff Hessel, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Tourism Calgary. 

Investments in infrastructure elevate Calgary as an iconic, world class city and align with the Brand driver of the economic strategy. 

“Through new investment and improvements to infrastructure in 2022, the YYC Calgary International Airport and our growing aviation sector are continuing to build on Calgary’s reputation as a globally and digitally connected city,” said Bob Sartor, President and CEO, Calgary Airport Authority.  

Driving economic progress forward 

There are many accomplishments to celebrate over the past year and areas of opportunity to look forward to in the year ahead. As Calgary becomes an increasingly attractive destination for companies, capital and talent, continued investment is critical to ensure progress is made towards:   

  • A city underpinned by innovation; 
  • Climate mitigation and adaptation;    
  • Vibrancy and revitalization;    
  • Affordability;  
  • Workforce;  
  • Truth and Reconciliation; and,   
  • Equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility.  

To drive the economic strategy even further Calgary Economic Development hosted the inaugural Driving Progress: Calgary in the New Economy Assembly on June 8, 2023. The assembly brings together business and community leaders committed to making transformational change in our city as we champion economic prosperity for all. 

Partners across the city have made great strides in advancing the economic strategy’s vision, but our work is not done. In the face of economic uncertainties, Calgary must continue to invest in its many strengths and take on the challenges of the future with confidence, grounded by our collective values. 

The outlook for Calgary in 2023 is optimistic. Calgary is prosperous and growing, embracing change and diversity, attracting talent and innovation and continuing to build on a vibrant culture, a welcoming business environment and a distinctive brand. 


Read the 2023 Annual Progress Report along with the highlights, and full economic strategy Calgary in the New Economy.  



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