Data and trends with Tomas

Tomas Nilsson

The unique blend of data scientist, economist, and Swedish dairy farmer all rolled into regular updates on our region, economics, and trends. Keep checking back for this regularly updated blog by our own Tomas Nilsson, PhD. and bite-sized essayist.

Tomas Nilsson
Tomas Nilsson, Director, Research and Market Intelligence

July 12, 2019 @ 11:50 am (minor edits July 13 @ 10:43 am)

The value of data in Canada: $9.4 to $14.2 billion

Statistics Canada published results from a brand new survey in July 2019. One key finding from that survey, is that Canadian businesses invested between $9.4 and $14.2 billion in creating data in 2018. Statistics Canada notes that “the value of data is estimated with reference to the labour costs incurred in their production plus associated non-direct labour and other costs.”

Another related Statistics Canada survey provides insights into the adoption rate of digital technologies. The Survey of Innovation and Business Strategy compared business use of emerging and advanced technologies across industries. The most recent survey refers to the year 2017.

The results from the Survey of Innovation and Business Strategy show that:

  • More than 1 in 5 of surveyed businesses used business intelligence technologies. However, the adoption rate varies across the sector: the proportion of firms using business intelligence technologies in the information and cultural industries is almost twice as it, at 47%, followed by finance and insurance at 43.7%.
  • Of all firms surveyed, 4% use Artificial Intelligence technologies. The adoption rate of AI technologies is most prevalent among businesses operating in finance and insurance, and information and cultural industries.

There are several large financial institutions in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region. A profile of the larger financial institutions in the region (ATB Financial, Canadian Western Bank, and Servus Credit Union), are listed on our leading employers page.

The Artificial Intelligence is rapidly evolving field. Take for example patent filings: 1,200 patents were filed in 2017 with the name “Artificial Intelligence” in the cover page of the application form. Fast forward two years later: In 2019, year to date, more than 1,700 AI patents have been filed.  The number of AI related companies in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region is growing as well. As of July 2019, Crunchbase tracks six local AI companies that were recently funded, or provided funding to other companies. The Canadian AI Ecosystem 2018 identifies more than a dozen AI startups in Edmonton.

Moreover, Bloomberg and the Data Centre Map, 3 of Canada’s 170 publicly listed data centres are located in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region.

On a related note, Bloomberg also tracks publicly traded companies that are exposed to 5G including carriers, equipment makers and network operators. Of the 80 companies, 7 are headquartered in Canada: BCE Inc., Telus, Rogers Communications Inc., Shaw Communications Inc., EXFO Inc., Sierra Wireless Inc., and Blackberry Ltd. Although not headquartered in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, a number of these companies have a significant regional presence.  

The newly released Statistics Canada study identifies critical occupations that are associated with data value creation. The most substantial annual investment in data is made by professionals in “other customer and information services representatives”, generating $3.6 billion to $6 billion of the value. From a regional perspective, 12,400 people work in this occupation in Alberta, and 4,830 people in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region.

What about the talent pipeline? From 2012 to 2018, more than 57,500 people graduated from publicly funded-post secondary institutions within Alberta in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. (sort by 2-digit CIP code and select codes 11, 14, 15, 26, 27, 40, 41 and 48).

The Edmonton Global team can provide more information on trends and opportunities in this market. If we cannot help, we will put you in contact with our many partners that operate in 5G, AI, data, finance, and information sectors. 

July 10, 2019 @ 11:14 am

$362.6 million. That is the total value of building permits issued across the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, for the month of May 2019. The estimates are corrected for seasonality. By type of structure, the value of residential building permits is $211.2 million and non-residential $151.3 million (note the figures may not add due to rounding).

Compared to the same month last year, May 2018, the total value is $79 million lower, mainly because of lower non-residential value ($75 million). Compared to the same month five years ago, May 2014, the value of residential permits is $72 million lower, and $55 million lower for non-residential.

So over the five years May 2014 to May 2019, the values of residential and non-residential permits have been trending downwards. Except for two spikes in 2016 (January and October), the value of non-residential permits in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region has been declining by approximately $11 million per year.

Value of building permits, May ’14 to May ’19, for the Edmonton Metropolitan Region.

Graph built from data available through Statistics Canada. 
Table  34-10-0066-01   Building permits, by type of structure and type of work (x 1,000)

Statistics Canada does not publish data on the type of building permit issued at the regional level, e.g. the type of non-residential structure such as major and minor commercial and industrial projects. So it is currently not possible to tell whether the value of permits is caused by a smaller number of industrial and commercial projects or if the value of projects has been decreasing, or both.

However, there are several projects on the go in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region. According to the Alberta Government Major Projects site, which lists public and private projects valued over $5 million, there are more than 90 projects on the go in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region. These projects are currently underway, and scheduled to commence in the 2019 to 2025 period.

July 5, 2019 @ 9:52 am

New information on Canada’s labour market was released today by Statistics Canada.

According to the Labour Force Survey, the unemployment rate as of June 2019 for the Edmonton Metropolitan Region (Census Metropolitan Region) stood at 7.0%. The rate changed little from last month May 2019, and is slightly up than a year ago, June 2018.

The Edmonton Metropolitan Region is Canada’s fifth largest economy with a labour force of over 856,000 people. The participation rate in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region is the third highest in the country, however.  The participation rate is the number of people in the labour force as a share of total population 15 years of age and over). In the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, the participation rate is 72.4%. That is out of 1,000 persons (age 15 and over), 724 were in the labour force in June 2019.

More detailed information on Canada, Alberta and Edmonton’s labour markets can be found on Statistics Canada Labour Market Indicators visualization page, and key labour market events are reported on Canada’s Job Bank Job Market Trends and News site.

July 4, 2019 @ 8:03 am

The corporate tax rate for businesses operating in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region and across Alberta is the lowest in Canada.  

Public and private corporations in Alberta pay corporate income taxes, levied by the federal government and the provincial government.

As of July 1, 2019,  the federal rate is 15% and the provincial rate 11%. The combined corporate tax rate is thus 26%.

According to those in the know, the corporate tax rate in Alberta is now the lowest rate in Canada.

Going forward, the provincial government plans to reduce the provincial tax rate incrementally, so that by 2022, the provincial rate reaches 8%. That is, by 2022, the combined federal and provincial corporate tax rate would be 23% (assuming the federal rate does not change). 

Businesses in Alberta with incomes below $500,000 can access the small business deduction. More information on this and other corporate topics are available from the Canadian government , and the Alberta government.

July 3, 2019 @ 3:35 pm

** Hot off the press**

On July 3, 2019, the Alberta government released new population projections for the period 2019 to 2046. These are projections and not forecasts. Here are some highlights of the report.

Alberta was the youngest province in 2017. However, its population is aging due to below replacement fertility and rising life expectancy. Despite the anticipated addition of a substantial number of young people through migration, population aging is expected to continue over the projection period. In 2017, the average age of individuals in the province was 37.9 years and is projected to climb to 41.6 by 2046 (page 2/12). 

From 2019 to 2046, Alberta’s population is projected to grow by 1.4 percent annually. The strongest population growth is projected to occur in the Edmonton-Calgary corridor over the 2019 to 2046 period. 

The report note that regions with more employment and educational opportunities tend to attract more migrants. Based on past trends, of the almost 1.5 million net migrants moving to Alberta over the next 28 years, 84.1% are expected to settle in the two major urban centers.

At the regional level, the geography in the report that most closely corresponds to the Edmonton Metropolitan Region is Census Division no. 11. 

In 2018, more than 1.46 million people were living in Census Division 11. From 1996 to 2018, the region added more than 24,600 people annually through birth and in-migration. 

Between 2019 to 2046, the Edmonton Metropolitan Region is projected to increase by over 30,000 people per year, and reach over 2.3 million in 2046. 

The Alberta population projections from 2019 to 2046 are available on the Alberta Government Open Government portal.

July 3, 2019 @ 3:11 pm

Author’s note: Feel free to edit for clarity and sassiness
Editor’s note: Tomas, next time more sass


  • Currently, 33 organizations have their head office in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, employ combined more than 302,000 people.
  • Twenty-two (22) companies are investor-owned-firms (profit companies that are not in public administration or operated as a not-for-profit) employ more than 96,700 people.
  • The 22 companies operate in 22 different industry segments.
  • The four largest industries, which are architecture & engineering, banking, food & drug stores, and facilities services, employ 67,600 people. 
  • The largest industry segment is architecture and engineering, which employs 38,000 people.
  • The sector with the largest number of firms is the banking sector, which employs 10,100 people (ATB Financial, Canadian Western Bank, and Servus Credit Union). 

The list of leading employers in the Edmonton Metropolitan region is available from our website – leading employers

Have any questions? Want your company added to the list of large employers in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region? Please let us know by sending us an email at

Questions? Get in touch : 1-800-264-4952
Suite 100 - 10020 100 St.NW -T5J 0N5 Edmonton, AB
© Edmonton Global. All rights reserved