We envision a vibrant Calgary that develops, retains, and attracts talent from all backgrounds, enabling our city and our people to have the skills needed to thrive in the economy of today and tomorrow.
As one of the fastest-growing cities in Canada, Calgary has the potential to leverage a growing population to improve its economic outlook. However, as the city’s population increases overall, one key demographic is shrinking: young adults between the ages of 20-24.
Our ability to attract and retain young talent will facilitate:
Increased opportunities for innovation in business and industry;
Greater ability to realize economic diversification;
Higher and more sustainable workforce productivity;
Greater potential for labor force replacement and growth; and
Increased interest from businesses as they choose to locate closer to readily available talent.
The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored a greater need for digital skills and programming talent. Critically, Calgary offers significant depth in scientific and engineering disciplines, offering a solid foundation on which to develop and attract new industries.
Persistent economic headwinds, combined with the need to tackle climate change issues, has also spurred technological innovation and growth in many sectors, including the energy sector, which is poised to play a leading role in the transition to a low carbon economy. We believe this is key to attracting young people to live and work in our city. Additionally, Calgary’s lower cost and higher quality of living compared with other major cities makes our city an attractive option.
Calgary has an opportunity to leverage these competitive advantages by diversifying training and employment opportunities, investing in community vibrancy and leading the way in employment best practices, including mental health initiatives and equity, diversity and inclusion.
How we move forward
1. Promote and develop growing companies, including through accelerators and incubators.
To enable long-term economic growth, we must support the development of an ecosystem that enables start-ups to launch and grow.
Fund and promote incubators and accelerators to diversify our economy through targeted investment in the technology and other sectors. The City should leverage funding from other levels of government to increase the pool of capital available for research and development.
Showcase Calgary as a great place to live on local, national, and international stages, working with partners such as Calgary Economic Development and arts organizations to highlight the City’s vibrancy and diversity as a competitive advantage, helping attract companies and talent.
Increase funding to the arts and entertainment sector, including both programming (e.g. performances, exhibits, etc.) and infrastructure (e.g. arts centers), and by allocating funding for diverse groups and extending Calgary Arts Development’s Project Grant Program. Currently, Calgary has the second-lowest support of the arts among major Canadian cities.
Promote initiatives similar to those developed by community organizations such as the United Way, which, together with headversity, have developed the Adaptive YYC initiative supporting mental health and well-being.
Increase funding for mental health organizations that support accessible and affordable service delivery.
4. Advocate for the development of Calgary’s talent pipeline through strong post-secondary institutions.
Calgary’s colleges, universities, and technical schools are among the best in the country. As we transition to a knowledge-based economy focused on innovation, automation, and cross-sectoral collaboration, postsecondaries are producing the next generation to lead our city.
Work with the provincial government to provide post-secondary institutions with stable funding and supports. Align post-secondary offerings with growth of various existing and emerging sectors including energy, technology, agriculture, health sciences, entertainment and media.
Work with the provincial government to attract more exchange students and work programs such as work-integrated learning and co-op programs to Calgary.
5. Identify and address skills gaps
The pandemic has accelerated the shift towards digitized and knowledge-based economy. This means virtually all sectors are seeing changes in the types of skills needed from the workforce. With both high unemployment and labour shortages, there is a gap between the skills we have and the skills we need. To attract and retain talent and remain competitive internationally, we need to reskill, upskill, and increase the size of our skilled workforce, in conjunction with a broader economic strategy that ensures Canada maximizes its economic potential.
Work with provinces, post-secondary institutions, and businesses to expand, improve, and innovate options for training and re-training programs to reduce barriers and help workers adjust more efficiently to the changing economy.
Prioritize nationwide continuous learning opportunities and job-training programs like the Canada-Alberta Job Grant.
6. Invest in the development and improvement of infrastructure that drives talent.
As our world becomes increasingly interconnected and Canada aims to attract the brightest talent to our country, we need to develop infrastructure to help attract talent and accommodate growth. Infrastructure development promotes economic prosperity and improves quality of life and overall community well-being.
Invest in child care infrastructure in partnership with school boards, municipalities and the provincial government. Align planning to ensure enough spaces are available where and when they are needed.
Attract, retain and invest in talent
What we're saying
Municipal budget lacks certainty and stability for Calgary businesses, underscores need to diversify revenue sources
The City's 2022 budget adjustments reflect the need to balance investment in Calgary's future with fiscal sustainability while thinking innovatively to diversify revenue sources.