Aerial view of Downtown Edmonton

MEDIA RELEASE: Taking a Step Forward in Capitalizing on Edmonton’s Potential

Published On
April 4, 2023

A Report from the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Economic Recovery Working Group Highlights Priorities and Actions for Success.

 Edmonton, Alberta – The Edmonton Metropolitan Region Economic Recovery Working Group (EMRER), launched by the Government of Alberta in February 2022, is thrilled to deliver its report on recommendations for supporting economic recovery, growth, and resiliency for the Edmonton Metropolitan Region.

Chaired by MLA for Spruce Grove-Stony Plain Searle Turton and co-vice chaired by Lisa Baroldi, president and CEO of Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) Edmonton, and Malcolm Bruce, CEO of Edmonton Global, EMRER brought together the unique perspectives of 12 leaders from diverse industries and backgrounds.

Over the past twelve months, EMRER met with Edmonton-region leaders, businesses, and organizations to gather perspectives and solutions for how the government and local industries can support the Edmonton region’s economy, which shaped the findings outlined in the final report.

“Identifying ways to support Alberta’s capital city and region is integral to building a strong provincial economy with diverse industries and businesses. This idea led to the creation of the EMRER and helped guide our final report,” noted Chair and MLA Spruce Grove-Stony Plain Searle Turton. “Our report uses a regional approach that doesn’t focus on one specific area or community of Edmonton but identifies opportunities that will support the region as a whole.”

The report outlines a series of priorities and recommended actions including:

  • economic diversification, particularly in areas where the Edmonton region has global strengths:
    • hydrogen
    • artificial intelligence
    • life sciences and pharmaceutical infrastructure
    • mines and minerals processing capacity
  • talent retention and attraction
    • increase access to post-secondary institutions including funding for enrolment increases, tuition grants, and micro-credentialling
  • investment attraction and marketing
    • lower cost of utilities
    • establish special economic zones
    • expand market access by improving direct air service
    • establish a $10M marketing fund to build awareness of the region in key international markets
  • Indigenous economic sovereignty
    • enable Indigenous-led economic development including the establishment of a $500M fund
    • support Indigenous entrepreneurship with matching capital
    • enhance Indigenous procurement opportunities
    • increase Indigenous representation on public boards, agencies, and commissions
  • downtown vibrancy and social support
    • introduce funding and incentives to bring people back to the core
    • accelerate downtown beautification
    • increase mental health and addiction supports

“Hearing directly from stakeholders in this process was illuminating. It allowed us to put together a list of priorities and action items directly inspired and shaped by the people they seek to serve,” explained co-chair Lisa Baroldi. “We’re looking forward to bringing government, industry, and Indigenous leaders together to deliver on these priority areas for the betterment of the regional economy and downtown Edmonton’s future. This is a vision for our region and our province. All hands are on deck to realize the working group’s thoughtful and important recommendations.”

“Our region is at the forefront of significant global opportunities in hydrogen and the net-zero economy, global food security, life sciences, and the technology that will transform the way we do everything – artificial intelligence,” said co-chair Malcolm Bruce. “These world-scale opportunities are within our reach. We need the courage and vision to go after them with determination and speed. No one is waiting for us to succeed, we need to drive this ourselves. This report is a call to action – a rally cry – for our business community, and for governments at all levels. The report is a clear roadmap for how the right investments, supports, and policies can build a prosperous and sustainable economic future for our region.”

The final report was publicized at a private event attended by members of the Working Group and Hon. Brian Jean, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Northern Development at MacEwan University on Monday, April 3, 2023.

“Through the Renewed Alberta Advantage, we support and listen to local leadership to ensure that success is felt throughout our province,” said Brian Jean, Minister of Jobs, Economy, and Northern Development. The Edmonton Metropolitan Region Economic Recovery report is a valuable roadmap on how to maintain the Edmonton region’s status as one of Canada’s most liveable communities while ensuring the economy continues to thrive.  Thank you to the working group for crafting this vision.”

About ERMER: This group was established in February 2022 to suggest actions to inform government on solutions to attract new investment, grow existing businesses, diversify the economy, and build upon existing strengths to ensure that the Edmonton Metropolitan Region continues to be an economic driver for Alberta and Canada. The full report is available here.

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Sherri Bouslama


Sherri Bouslama