Define the Decade
A Framework for Prosperity for Albertans
What does a good life in Alberta look like in the next decade? We’ve embarked on a journey to explore how we as businesses, Albertans, and policy makers purposefully co-create a good and prosperous life for everyone through a competitive, inclusive, and sustainable economy by the next decade.
Our final report presents both a vision for Alberta’s future, created by Albertans, and the roadmap to achieve this vision. We believe that Alberta’s best days are still ahead, but we must plan for them on purpose. Define the Decade is that plan.
Alberta’s Future—The Story So Far
This project is a journey to explore what Alberta’s future can look like and how we create this future, together. Here you will find the latest releases as we move along this journey.
Our story contains four distinct chapters, each representing a phase of this project and a step forward in building the future of our dreams. Below you can see the progress of the project to date.
- Chapter 1: Where We Are Today—This chapter provides an overview of Alberta’s economy as it stands today. (Released December 2021)
- Chapter 2: What We’re Up Against—The chapter details the major global trends and forces that are at play and how these will impact the pathway to achieve our vision for our future. (Released February 2022)
- Chapter 3: Where We Want to Go—This chapter summarizes the key insights from our broad engagement with Albertans (Released March 2022)
- Chapter 4: How We Will Get There—This chapter concludes our story with our vision for our collective future and outlines the pathway we’re recommending to ensure that business and people have everything they need to thrive in Alberta. (Released June 2022)
This will be updated frequently as we complete each chapter. If you would like to be among the first to receive updates on this project, subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter.
Chapter 1: Where We Are Today
This chapter shares the story of Alberta’s economy—our strengths, performance, and key challenges. Below, you can explore an overview of Alberta’s economy as well as fast snapshots of some of the sectors in Alberta.
Alberta's Economy: An Overview
In this report, we look at a wide variety of indicators to provide a high-level, but comprehensive overview of what Alberta’s economy comprises and how well we are performing. The full report can be downloaded at the button below; however, if you are interested in just one or two aspects, please see individual links below.
Alberta's Economy: Sector Snapshots
These snapshots provide a quick dashboard of key indicators—from GDP to employment—of some of the sectors in the province. Each snapshot also provides a SWOT analysis summarizing each sector’s strengths and weaknesses as well as the opportunities and challenges facing it.
Chapter 2: What We're Up Against
Alberta does not exist in the world alone. It exists in a complex, interconnected, and ever-evolving system of economies and trade, population shifts and immigration, and increasing polarization and populism, among others.
Whether it’s the rise of China, the need to accelerate decarbonization, the importance of addressing economic and social inequities, or the continued disruption of digital innovation, there are global forces and challenges that we must face in order to build a plan that acknowledges what we are up against as we identify the opportunities for our future and understand Alberta’s place in the world.
And while these trends, forces, and challenges may be global in nature and not unique to Alberta, the implications of them and our responses to them, are.
The reports in this chapter outline some of those trends and forces; discuss how Alberta can compete and win in a world of complex geopolitics, protectionism, and new megaregions; and explore how these force could upend traditional thinking about attracting capital, people, and business.
Global Trends & Forces Impacting Alberta's Future
This report dives into four major global forces that are changing how our world looks and works—from digital disruption to climate change—and explores 10 key implications of these forces for Alberta and what we need to consider as we navigate the global shifts and disruptions in the movement of people, goods, and ideas.
Alberta’s Place in the World: The Changing Context of International Trade
Produced in collaboration with the Canada West Foundation, this report looks at the world in which Alberta exists and how emerging trends—such as the rise of China, nationalist trade policies such as “Buy American”, and the growth of “megaregions,” among others—will impact Alberta’s trading environment and future economic growth.
Chapter 3: Where We Want to Go
Much is often made about the tensions and divisions in Alberta about who we were, who we are, and who we want to be. However, the reality is that when it comes to what Albertans want in their future, there is much more that unites us than divides us.
Yes, tensions do exist—and we must acknowledge those we work to create not only a vision for our future but our economic framework in which to achieve that vision.
In Chapter 3 of our Define the Decade journey, we look toward this future and explore what it looks like, according to Albertans themselves.
Between August and December 2021, we spoke to thousands of Albertans through our Task Force, Prosperity Advisory Committee, stakeholder interviews, province-wide polling, and focus groups to ask them one question, “What does a good life look like to you?”
The report below is the answer to that question.
The Good Life: What Albertans Want for Their Future
This report summarizes all our research and engagement work to highlight what Albertans want for their future; the challenges that stand in the way of achieving that future; and the values, attitudes, and beliefs that underpin our aspirations.
The top findings:
- Albertans want both social and economic prosperity.
- There are real tensions in the province, but there is more that unites us than divides us.
- Above all, Albertans want to create opportunity for everyone.
Some key highlights:
- Albertans broadly agree on what they envision for the future. They want a future that is both socially and economically prosperous; it is inclusive and innovative and creates opportunity for everyone.
- Alberta’s famed entrepreneurial spirit and “can do” attitude are true and deeply embedded values and are essential ingredients to building the future that Albertans envision. 87% agree there is a strong entrepreneurial spirit in Alberta.
- Albertans are not satisfied with our reputation—only 39% feel we have a good reputation in Canada.
- When business does well, everyone benefits—81% agree with this sentiment. Albertans want business to play a broad role in prosperity.
- Energy “&”: Albertans are generally supportive of the energy industry (70% feel the economy will suffer if we move away), and they also want to see expansion—98% rate diversifying the economy as a priority.
- Optimistic about their future: 65% are optimistic about Alberta’s prospects in 10 years, a number that is increasing.
- Ultimately, much is often made about the tensions among Albertans, and while these do exist, we discovered that when it comes to what Albertans want in their future, we share more common ground than not.
Chapter 4: How We Will Get There
Alberta is at a crossroads. Years of unequally shared prosperity, economic stagnation, struggling reputation, and a shifting global context has created an imperative for Alberta to reimagine and define our future. Many had been feeling that Alberta’s best days were behind us.
But our best days are ahead. If we are strategic, we can build on the building momentum of today to create true long-term shared prosperity. We must create a path forward that expands the economy, ensures long-term sustainability, and creates a good life for every Albertan who calls this place home. That is Define the Decade.
Define the Decade creates a new vision for Alberta, created by Albertans themselves, and a strategic plan to get there.
Define the Decade: Building Alberta's Future—Together
Putting everything together—research, interviews, studies of comparable jurisdictions, working sessions, focus groups, Big Idea submissions, and more—this chapter presents both the vision for Alberta’s future as well as the plan to get there—from the foundational pillars for success to challenge-driven opportunities—to achieve this vision and create shared prosperity.
About the Project
Define the Decade is a major research and engagement project that looks to explore how businesses, Albertans and policy makers come together to make life better for Albertans over the next decade.
Ultimately, this project looks to do two things:
- Create a unifying vision between Albertans and the business community of what a good life and great Alberta looks like 10 years from now; and
- Develop the framework and pathways to get to that good life, including the economic environment needed to create investment and job creation which will support improved prosperity for Albertans.
For Albertans, By Albertans—Research & Engagement Process
The project includes a comprehensive research and engagement process. Over the next several months, the Task Force will:
- Engage a diversity of Albertans from across the province and many walks of life, in a variety of research methodologies to learn more about their values, priorities, challenges, and views and what they see as a good life.
- Identify and catalogue Alberta’s assets, strengths, and advantages.
- Look around the world to identify economic opportunities, competitive advantages, and best practices.
- Develop a vision and framework to help all Albertans thrive.
We will release interim reports and research throughout the process, with the final report due in early 2022.
If you would like to stay up to date on the progress of the project, be the first to receive new research or reports, or learn more about how you can be involved, sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter here.
Research & Engagement Framework
- Engaging the General Public through random and representative polling, qualitative research and targeted interviews
- Engaging BCA Members and Business Leaders through member communications, events, and interviews
- Engaging Prosperity-Focused Organizations and External Partners including existing research, governments, think tanks, and other associations
- Engaging Diverse perspectives, life experiences, and other experts through the Prosperity Advisory Committee
CEO Task Force
This project will be guided and supported by a Task Force, composed of Alberta’s top business leaders including:
Susannah Pierce (Co-Chair)
President & Country Chair
Cory Janssen (Co-Chair)
Co-Founder & Co-CEO
Executive Vice-President, Natural Gas & Technical Services
Executive Vice President and President, Liquids Pipelines
President & CEO
President & CEO
Startec Compression & Process
Rohit Group of Companies
Fort McKay Group of Companies
President & CEO
Prosperity Advisory Committee
The Prosperity Advisory Committee is a parallel advisory group to the CEO Task Force. The group is composed of business and community leaders and experts from across the province and provides insight, advice, and guidance on the vision and framework of the project.
Anila Lee Yuen
President & CEO
Centre for Newcomers
CEO / Co-Founder & Board Director
Technology Helps / Calgary Black Chambers
Dr. Matthew Corkum
Speaker, Disability & Inclusion Advocate
Gary St. Amand
Bissell Centre Edmonton
Manager of the Homeless and Housing Development Department
Medicine Hat Community Housing Society
J.W. McConnell Professor of Practice / Research Fellow
Max Bell School of Public Policy at McGill University / CD Howe Institute
Prentice Institute, University of Lethbridge
Alberta Women Entrepreneurs
Former Regional Chief
Assembly of First Nations of Alberta
Megan Langpap (Steiestol)
Manager, Strategic Communications, Communications & Engagement
Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo
Alberta LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce
Director of Communications and Relations
Building Trades of Alberta
For more information on this project or how you can get involved, please contact one of our project leads:
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