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New ministry to focus on economic development

A new ministry of Economic Development and Trade is being created to support greater economic growth and diversification for Alberta and jobs for Alberta’s communities. 

Cabinet changes show focus on economic diversification, supporting job growth 2920

Deron Bilous is sworn in as the Minister for Economic Development and Trade

Deron Bilous has been named minister of the new department, and will oversee implementation of the economic plan. It will include enhanced supports for small- and medium-sized businesses, sector development initiatives, and a strategy to increase trade, investment attraction, and market access.

“Our government will be a good partner to job creators, by supporting the development of a more diversified and resilient economy. The new Economic Development and Trade department will provide leadership in efforts to create opportunity and lasting prosperity for all Albertans.”

Premier Rachel Notley

The new ministry will bring under one umbrella work that is currently spread between several departments but is primarily concentrated in Innovation and Advanced Education and International and Intergovernmental Relations, and will be supported by several agencies, including the Alberta Innovates corporations. The new ministry’s work will be guided by the advice of the Premier’s Advisory Committee on the Economy.

“We need to take the qualities that have made Alberta an energy leader – including an innovative, entrepreneurial culture and a highly skilled work force – and apply them to the challenge of building a diversified, 21st century economy.”

Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade

Economic Development and Trade will also be responsible for:

  • coordinating and leveraging the research and innovation system to increase business start-ups and the commercialization of Alberta ideas;
  • expanding access to capital for small- and medium-sized enterprises;
  • supporting private sector job creation by promoting trade and investment; and
  • leading Alberta’s negotiations on domestic and international trade agreements.

Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME), Canada’s largest trade and industry association, supports the government’s creation of a new department dedicated to economic development and trade. 

“This is a fantastic opportunity to focus on issues critical to the long term sustainability and diversification of Alberta’s economy.  The manufacturing sector is essential to achieving our economic and diversification objectives. There are real opportunities to build on Alberta’s competitive advantages by greater penetration of local supply chains and by increased exports of Alberta-manufactured goods.”

CME Alberta Division Vice President David Plante

Alberta Chambers of Commerce, a federation of community chambers of commerce, also supports the creation of a new department and its mandate to increase economic diversification and support job creators.

“By creating a new Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, this government has made it clear that the economy is a priority. It’s important that we have a partner dedicated to helping grow and diversify the provincial economy, so our organization is looking forward to working with government on these initiatives to help make Alberta the best place in the country to start and operate a business.”

President and CEO of Alberta Chambers of Commerce Ken Kobly

Premier Notley, as President of Executive Council, will retain responsibility for intergovernmental relations, with current intergovernmental relations staff transferring to Executive Council. ‎The ministry of Innovation and Advanced Education will be renamed Advanced Education. Existing staff and budgets will be re-allocated accordingly.

Listen to the news conference


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