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The start of 2020 has been incredibly difficult on the lives and livelihoods of Albertans. With unprecedented unemployment and businesses flooded with red ink, Alberta needs to take bold economic action. That is why we are launching the Alberta Recovery Plan with sector specific strategies that are focused on growing our economy and attracting opportunities and jobs back to Alberta.
Alberta’s recovery plan is built around a historic $10 billion infrastructure program. This spending includes:
- $6.9 billion Budget 2020 capital spending
- $980 million accelerated for Capital Maintenance and Renewal
- $200 million for Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Program and water infrastructure projects
- $600 million in strategic infrastructure projects, $500 million in municipal infrastructure
- $1.5 billion for Keystone XL
Our Recovery Plan – Agriculture
Pillar one: Investment attraction
- Aggressive investment attraction activities will enhance our value-added processing capacity.
- This will generate up to $1.4 billion in new investment and 2,000 new value-added agriculture jobs.
Pillar two: Improving market access
- Incredible potential for Alberta’s agriculture products to meet the appetite of the growing world population.
- Increasing export opportunities so processors can access to key global markets.
- Setting ambitious growth targets in primary ag exports and the value-added sector, and increasing export targets.
- Expanding our international presence by positioning agriculture-specific staff in four key international offices in addition to our offices in Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing and New Delhi.
Pillar three: Expanding irrigation
- Currently, Alberta has more than 1.7 million acres that are irrigated.
- The industry contributes $3.6 billion annually to Alberta’s GDP, which represents 20% of the agri-food sector GDP, but on just 4.7% of the province’s cultivated land base.
- A historic expansion to Alberta’s irrigation infrastructure will create new construction jobs now and in the long term, and significantly increase primary production.
Our Recovery Plan – Forestry
Pillar one: Stable access to trees
- Unshakeable in our resolve to help grow Alberta’s forest sector.
- Stabilizing the fibre supply for industry by reviewing constraints on the annual allowable cut is critical to secure jobs and investment.
Pillar two: Supporting product development
- Already the most competitive in all of Canada, but we can do more.
- Unrelenting in our pursuit of new trading partners in Asia.
- Exploring the growth potential of Alberta’s value-added sector to better support secondary wood product development.
More details about our sector strategies will be shared soon.
By supporting the diversification and growth of rural economies built around the agriculture and forest sectors and attracting investment with Canada’s most competitive tax environment, we are putting rural Alberta on a path for a generation of growth.
We will work relentlessly to get rid of red tape so agriculture and forest sector businesses can do what they do best – innovate, grow and create jobs for hardworking Albertans.
By supporting economic growth, building public confidence in food safety, and managing Crown forests responsibly, I believe rural economies and communities built around the agriculture and forest sectors will be set up for unprecedented growth.
Devin Dreeshen served as Minister of Agriculture and Forestry from April 30, 2019 to November 5, 2021.