The Business Council of Alberta was officially launched on Thursday by some of the top business leaders in the province to “boldly meet the challenges facing our province and build a better Alberta within a more dynamic Canada.”
Adam Legge, who has worked with Calgary Economic Development, the Calgary Chamber and the University of Calgary, is the founding president of the non-partisan, non-profit organization.
A group of more than 40 chief executives from across Alberta came together to form the initial council, inspired by five founders:
- Hal Kvisle, chairman, Finning International; chairman, ARC Resources; corporate director, Cenovus Energy;
- Mac Van Wielingen, founder, ARC Financial; president and founder, Viewpoint Group;
- Ron Mannix, chairman emeritus, Coril Holdings Ltd;
- Nancy Southern, chair and chief executive officer, ATCO Group;
- Dawn Farrell, president and chief executive officer, TransAlta Corp.
“Leaders from across the province have come together, determined to make life better for the people of Alberta,” said Kvisle. “Alberta has many strengths – people, resources, infrastructure and environment – and through thoughtful action we can create a future with long-term economic and social prosperity for all Albertans.”
The council said its work will be initiatives, research and collaborative work focused on the long-term prosperity and attractiveness of Alberta. Topics include skills training, education, environmental protection, resource development, trade, innovation and Canada’s overall investment climate.
“Business isn’t the only driver of prosperity, but business does have a responsibility and a significant role to play, both economically and socially,” said Farrell. “That means being a part of building better lives, environment, health, education and better opportunities for everyone. It means building businesses that contribute to the world’s greatest needs, and creating jobs that enable every Albertan to live the life that they aspire to.”
The council said a recent a poll conducted by Janet Brown Opinion Research found that only 17 per cent of people in Alberta feel their household is better off than a year before.
It also cited the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, which found that 76 per cent of Canadians want to see businesses take specific actions that improve economic and social conditions in the communities in which they operate. And 79 per cent expect CEOs to take the lead.
“The Business Council of Alberta is intentionally launching at a formative stage. We’re looking to begin work across sectors and across traditional boundaries, to forge solutions that will create a strong Alberta for the future,” said Southern. “We want to bring all stakeholders to the table – business, government, Indigenous, labour, academic, environment and more – to find areas of commonality that we can pursue together.”
The council said it plans to grow membership to include the top 10 companies in each of the top 10 industries in Alberta, and with representation of business leaders across the province, all committed to working together to help make life better for all Albertans.
“The voice of all types of Alberta business needs to be heard in the complex, fast changing world of today. The voice of business has been absent for many reasons,” said Mannix. “That is why the Business Council of Alberta is being built. We must restore the trust and confidence of people in business to help solve the world’s problems. And both government and business must learn to work much better together.”