The Minister of Jobs, Economy, and Innovation, Doug Schweitzer is excited for the Alberta rebound that is anticipated in the second half of 2021.
The Strathmore Wheatland Chamber of Commerce hosted an Economic Recovery Zoom Town Hall, which featured Chestermere-Strathmore MLA Leela Aheer, and Minister Schweitzer.
“The Alberta rebound is real, people are going to start feeling it in the second half of 2021,” Schweitzer said.
Adding, “I know for a while it felt there was a lot of hurdles thrown in Alberta’s way. I do believe we’re at the point where the rebound is real, there’s a reason to be confident again in the future of Alberta, there’s a lot of things that are going to be heading in the right direction.”
Although small businesses have made sacrifices since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Schweitzer is excited about the direction the province is headed.
“Financial institutions are forecasting that Alberta is going to lead the country in GDP growth and job creation. There are a lot of reasons for that such as oil prices, natural gas prices, agricultural prices, and lumber prices,” Schweitzer said.
Adding, “There’s an immense amount of diversification that’s happening across Alberta.”
The province is experience growth in the film and TV industry, and growth in the technology sector which is creating additional jobs for Albertans.
While the performing arts sector in the province is at a standstill, organizations and performers have pivoted to online platforms.
“The performing arts sector was cut out at the very beginning of the pandemic, and most likely will be the last to reopen,” Aheer said.
“When it comes to the event industry, we want to grow out the event industry in Alberta, we want to grow out the experience,” Schweitzer added.
In addition to the growing performance, and technology sectors, the province is experiencing growth with energy companies and diversification across Alberta.
“There are a lot of new opportunities for energy, and power, we’re seeing huge growth in renewable power,” Schweitzer said.
Adding, “We’re a leader in energy, we’re a leader in power, and we have a unique proposition in the private sector, which is encouraging to see.”
The priorities of the provincial government to ensure the Alberta rebound is successful include creating new job opportunities for Albertans, accelerating the job creation tax cut, decreasing spending, cutting red tape, strengthening the workforce, reforming provincial policies around immigration, and finding innovative ways to provide the same or better service in a more cost-effective way.
“We want to attract investment here, we want companies that are housed here to grow faster, and we want to attract more money into Alberta for companies that want to grow,” Schweitzer said.
“We’re at the end of this, if we can continue to get vaccinated, and stay the course for just a little while longer, the tool kit is in our hands to get through this and we’re going to do everything we can to relaunch and get things moving. We just have to hang on a little while longer,” Aheer said.