Alberta well-poised for post-COVID-19 economic recovery

·2 min read

Affordable housing, world-class research, skilled workforce and low taxes are just a few of the reasons Alberta will be in a good position to recover from this pandemic, local business leaders heard last week.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses that have done well have been technology companies and those that are able to use tech to transform their businesses, said Angus Watt, head of the Angus Watt Advisory Group – and Alberta, with its world-class research and technology, is positioned to lead the pack coming out of the pandemic.

Last Wednesday, Watt spoke to the St. Albert and District Chamber of Commerce, giving an overview of the state of the global economy and reminding listeners why it is great to live in Alberta.

The province has a top-of-class university with the University of Alberta, which will help lead the way in research and technology coming out of the pandemic.

"The University of Alberta, when it was properly funded, was number two in the world of artificial intelligence and mechanical. We've got a Nobel Prize winner for medicine. In technology and energy, we're leaders in those fields in certain areas and they are certainly things we can come back and focus on and build for those strengths," Watt said.

Agriculture in Alberta in technology driven, Watt said, and the province has the water, soil and skilled workforce to get ahead in the fields.

Low taxes will be important moving forward to help bring new Canadians and people from other province into Alberta, which is helped by having great airport capacity, Watt added.

And future Albertans will be drawn to the province because of the affordable housing availability, with housing being out of reach in other highly populated areas of the country, like Metro Vancouver or the Greater Toronto Area.

"Our housing affordability and access to commercial and industrial properties is huge."

Cheap fuel and safe communities will help Alberta shoot ahead of other regions too, Watt said.

"So when you take a look at the opportunity for us in our communities, I think we have something."

Looking forward to the recovery, Watt said looking after mental health is going to need to be a priority for governments.

"Because if we don't, mental health will become our number one problem and our world's gonna run short of skilled labour, because people will just won't have the stamina and they'll have too much anxiety ... we really have to keep that in mind to to get ourselves going."

Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Albert Gazette