“Today, Rogers Communications and Shaw Communications announced a proposed merger which has significant implications for Alberta’s economy.
“Obviously their proposal is subject to assessment and approval by federal regulatory agencies, specifically the Competition Bureau and the CRTC. We expect those bodies to carefully review the proposed merger, and to ensure that it is in the best interests of consumers and the Canadian economy.
“Yesterday, I spoke at length to Rogers CEO Joe Natale and Shaw CEO Brad Shaw about the merger.
“Rogers has made a number of commitments to increase jobs, service and investment in Alberta. If this proposal is approved, we would hold Rogers to those commitments, as they would be good news for Alberta’s economy.
“The plan outlined by Rogers and Shaw would mean significant net job growth in Alberta, especially in high-paying high-tech jobs. This would further diversify our economy and build on recent major breakthroughs in Alberta's tech sector, such as the Infosys expansion into Calgary announced just last week which will create up to 2,000 new jobs over the next three years. This is on top of a record year for venture capital investments and successful tech startup growth.
“The merger also includes a commitment to significant expansion of 5G and high-speed internet coverage across the province, which is good news for Alberta's rural, remote and Indigenous communities and their local economies.
“Rogers has committed to making Calgary the company’s western headquarters and to creating 3,000 net new jobs in the West, about 1,800 of them in Alberta. Most importantly, approximately 500 of those new jobs would be located in Calgary at Rogers’ proposed new National Centre for Technology and Engineering Excellence, which would be a big boost to our goal of making Alberta a hub for digital innovation, particularly in the fast-growing wireless and telecommunications industries.
“Founded in Edmonton in 1966 by the late great entrepreneur J.R. Shaw, Shaw Communications is a made-in-Alberta success story that has been part of our communities for decades. Obviously, we would prefer that Rogers locate its national head office in Calgary. However, choosing Calgary as the home for this new National Centre for Technology and Engineering Excellence is further evidence that Alberta's Recovery Plan is working and our economy is diversifying. We are also pleased to learn of the merged company’s plan to expand Rogers’ relationship with the University of Calgary, to maintain Shaw’s strong support for local charities and community groups, and to support Indigenous-owned and operated internet service providers.
“The Government of Alberta will closely monitor Rogers’ regulatory filings, and will likely make submissions to the regulatory agencies to defend the best interests of our economy and consumers. In particular, we will seek to have the commitments to increased employment and investment a condition of federal regulatory approval. If the proposed transaction is approved, Alberta's government will work closely with Rogers to ensure that the company keeps its commitments to a significant net increase in employment and in wireless infrastructure for rural communities. We will also work with Rogers to continue expanding investment and employment in Alberta in the years to come. With the country’s lowest taxes, lightest regulatory burden, youngest and best educated work force, high quality of life and low cost of living, we believe there is a compelling case for this merged company to continue expanding its presence in Alberta.”