The Conference Board of Canada says Alberta can expect to see economic growth of 2.4 per cent in 2020. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

The Conference Board of Canada says Alberta can expect to see economic growth of 2.4 per cent in 2020. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Improvement forecast for Alberta’s economy

Conference Board of Canada releases report

The Conference Board of Canada is forecasting a better economic picture for Alberta, but the Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce is taking a wait and see approach.

According to the board’s new outlook, Alberta should see economic growth of 2.4 and 3.1 per cent in 2020 and 2021 respectively, based mostly on the improved outlook for the energy sector.

“We’re not getting back to the mid-2000 boom period, but certainly more steady, modest growth over the next couple of years,” said Alicia Macdonald, associate director of economic forecasting with the board, which is a not-for-profit think-tank.

The Canadian economy is expected to grow 1.8 per cent in 2020, up from 1.6 per cent this year, also due to energy investment and consumer spending.


Challenges continue for Alberta economy

Trudeau pledges to proceed with Trans Mountain pipeline

Reg Warkentin, policy and advocacy manager at the Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce, said Alberta’s positive forecast seems to conflict with less oil and gas drilling expected by the Petroleum Services Association of Canada next year.

He said so far, it doesn’t seem like it’s getting better for many area businesses.

“They’re still having some pretty intense struggles to keep their lights on and doors open,” Warkentin said.

“Certainly, it’s a welcome sign that the economic climate is looking to improve in 2020. We really do hope it does translate into some economic activity in central Alberta, and not just other parts of the province.”

He said local companies moving assets down into the United States, or increasing exports, are doing better than others.

Michael Clark, CEO with Canalta Controls Group, said the confidence in the oil and gas industry could turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy, but hurdles can easily pop up.

“I don’t see a lot of success in simply hoping for business as usual, the way it was, where it was a focus on production and export,” said Clark, who manufactures natural gas meters for industry.

But he said Alberta is a great place for companies to access cheap energy resources for value-added operations, like producing power onto the grid system for other jurisdictions.

“If you’re a buyer of natural gas, it’s one of the best places to set up business,” Clark said.

Warkentin said provincial initiatives such as cutting corporate taxes, the elimination of the carbon tax and red tape reduction will hopefully encourage investors and business owners to feel more confident to spend again.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Marcus Golczyk, with Taco Monster, hands food to a customer during Food Truck Drive and Dash in the Westerner Park parking lot in Red Deer Friday afternoon. The drive-thru event will run every Thursday from 4-7 p.m. and Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. through June. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff
Food Truck Fridays, Food Truck Drive and Dash return in Red Deer

Red Deerians are able to take in a drive-thru food truck experience… Continue reading

Don and Gloria Moore, of Red Deer, are set to celebrate their 70th anniversary later this month. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer couple to celebrate 70th anniversary

Red Deer couple Don and Gloria Moore are set to celebrate their… Continue reading

Chris Scott, owner of The Whistle Stop Cafe, was put in handcuffs after an anti-restriction protest Saturday in the parking lot of the business. (Screenshot via The Whistle Stop Facebook page)
UPDATE: Central Alberta cafe owner arrested after anti-restriction protest

The owner of a central Alberta cafe, which was the site of… Continue reading

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer now has 911 active COVID-19 cases

Central zone has 2,917 active cases

FILE - A firefighter wears a mask as he drives his truck. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward, File
VIDEO: Flames rip through Edmonton-area seniors complex, but no fatalities

ST. ALBERT, Alta. — Fire has destroyed part of a retirement complex… Continue reading

Quebec Premier Francois Legault chairs a premiers virtual news conference as premiers John Horgan, B.C., Jason Kenney, Alberta, and Scott Moe, Saskatchewan, are seen onscreen, Thursday, March 4, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Several provinces bring in new restrictions as high COVID-19 case numbers persist

Several provinces are gearing up to tighten public health measures once again… Continue reading

Members of the RCAF take part in a Royal Canadian Air Force change of command ceremony in Ottawa on Friday, May 4, 2018. The Royal Canadian Air Force is hoping Canada will open its doors to military pilots from other countries as it seeks to address a longstanding shortage of experienced aviators. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
RCAF turns to foreign pilots to help with shortage as commercial aviators stay away

OTTAWA — The Royal Canadian Air Force is hoping Canada will open… Continue reading

An arrivals and departures information screen is seen at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport in Halifax on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018. The chief executive of Atlantic Canada's largest airport is hoping for COVID-19 testing for arriving passengers "sooner rather than later," as an added measure to combat the province's third wave of the virus. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Halifax airport CEO hopes for more on-site COVID testing ‘sooner rather than later’

HALIFAX — The chief executive of Atlantic Canada’s largest airport is hoping… Continue reading

Shoppers wear mask as they shop at a nursery & garden shop on Mother's Day weekend during COVID-19 pandemic in Wilmette, Ill., Saturday, May 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Tearful reunions mark second Mother’s Day under pandemic

Last Mother’s Day, they celebrated with bacon and eggs over FaceTime. This… Continue reading

Arizona Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet, standing, watches the game during the second period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in St. Paul, Minn. The Wild won 5-2. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig)
Tocchet won’t return as coach of Coyotes after 4 seasons

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Arizona Coyotes and coach Rick Tocchet have mutually… Continue reading

Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella shouts at an official after a fight between Columbus Blue Jackets' s Gavin Bayreuther and Florida Panthers' Sam Bennett during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, April 19, 2021, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Tortorella out after 6 years as Columbus Blue Jackets coach

COLUMBUS, Ohio — John Tortorella is out as coach of the Columbus… Continue reading

A caribou grazes on Baffin Island in a 2008 file photo. A last-ditch attempt to save some of Canada's vanishing caribou herds is a step closer after a scientific review panel's approval of a plan to permanently pen some animals and breed them to repopulate other herds. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kike Calvo via AP Images
Parks Canada captive caribou breeding proposal gets OK from scientific review panel

JASPER, Alta. — A last-ditch attempt to save some of Canada’s vanishing… Continue reading

The smouldering remains of houses in Slave Lake, Alta., are seen in a May 16, 2011, file photo. The wildfire that is devastating large swaths of the northern Alberta city of Fort McMurray comes just five years after another blaze destroyed 400 buildings and left 2,000 people homeless in Slave Lake, Alberta. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ian Jackson
Ten years later: Five things to know about the Slave Lake wildfire

A wildfire burned about one-third of Slave Lake in northern Alberta in… Continue reading

Most Read