Dernière mise à jour le
May 14, 2024

Alberta in figures

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Le contexte socio-économique

Often called the “energy province”, Alberta is the most dynamic and the most successful province in Canada, as well as the engine of economic growth in the country thanks to the importance of its energy sector. Even though its economy was in recession in 2016, the province has always led the country in terms of economic growth. Its GDP was CAD 339.2 billion in 2017, representing 15.9% of Canada's GDP. Thanks to this economic growth, Alberta is today one of the most popular immigration destinations thanks to its economy and its quality of life. The province in fact benefits from the Lowest unemployment rate in the country at 3.9%, a rate well below the national average of 6.8%. This unemployment rate, combined with population growth and the number of jobs created, reveals that there are numerous job opportunities available for immigrants wishing to settle in the region. The province is also not very favourable to economic interventionism. So she is the one with the Lowest tax level in Canada with the lowest personal income taxes in the country.

On average, the province's 4.2 million residents are the youngest of all Canadian provinces with a Median age 36.3. In addition, 68.7% of the workforce is aged 25 and has a university degree or post-secondary certificate.

The provincial government

The provincial capital of Edmonton is the seat of government in Alberta. Alberta is a parliamentary democracy with a Legislative Assembly made up of 87 deputies. Alberta's policies are much more conservative than those of other Canadian provinces. The current government is formed by the United Conservative Party, created in 2017 by the merger of the Wildrose Party and the Progressive Conservative Party. Since October 11, 2022, the Prime Minister of Alberta is Danielle Smith.

The economy of the province

The Alberta economy relies on energy, forest, agricultural and tourist resources. The economy is led by the energy industry, one of the province's largest employers, with over 275,000 jobs. In addition to the oil and gas industry, the forest industry remains important, with a value of over 4 billion Canadian dollars per year. Alberta also has a major agricultural industry, which makes up a large part of the province's culture and economy. In 2020, agricultural exports totalled over 12.4 billion Canadian dollars, including $5.8 billion in primary agricultural products and $6.7 billion in value-added products, and employed more than 69,800 Albertans. Alberta's agricultural production is largely destined for export.

Sunset on Scotsman Hill in Calgary.

International surveys rank Calgary and Edmonton among the best cities in the world to work in. The city of Calgary is home to almost all the head offices of Canadian and foreign companies in the hydrocarbon sector. For its part, the city of Edmonton is an industrial base for Fort McMurray oil extraction projects.

The main economic assets and the flagship industries

Although the oil and gas sector remains the largest industry in the province (16% of the province's GDP), the shares of GDP in other sectors such as construction, real estate, finance, insurance, or even the sale of beef and cereals are also important.

In addition, with two of the country's largest international airports, an integrated rail and intermodal infrastructure, and a thriving trucking industry, Alberta offers access to the largest markets in the world. Air and land routes depart from Edmonton to serve Alaska, Northwest Canada, and connect global transportation routes.

The food industry

The food processing sector in Alberta has grown rapidly over the past few years. In 2020, it was the largest manufacturing sector in the province with 15.5 billion Canadian dollars in food manufacturing sales. Alberta also has over 20 research centers and specialized innovations in crops and cereals, poultry and pork, agronomy, biomaterials and food safety. Federal and provincial governments offer significant fiscal incentives to carry out research and development projects in these areas. The sector is also supported by academic institutions that conduct research and offer programs in agriculture and agribusiness. Farmers and ranchers collaborate with this technological ecosystem to develop and implement innovative technologies to produce higher yields, while maintaining the quality and sustainability of their products. It has been estimated that agri-food businesses in Alberta will spend 684 million Canadian dollars on digital transformation by 2024.

The petrochemical industry

Alberta is the main crude oil-producing province in Canada and accounted for 80% of the country's total production in 2020. More than three-quarters of Alberta's crude oil production comes from oil sands in northern Alberta. With reserves estimated at 170 billion barrels of oil, or 13% of global reserves, Alberta is also the world's third-largest oil reserve behind Venezuela and Saudi Arabia.

The viability of the province's current petrochemical industry is based on access to a secure and economical long-term supply of liquid natural gas raw materials (in particular ethane) and on the ability to develop appropriate products at competitive prices for international markets. Businesses in the sector vary in size from a few employees to several hundred. The province also has The largest number of engineers per inhabitant in the country, with a large pool of workforce specialized in petroleum and chemical engineering. The region's skilled workforce is made up of various types of profiles, ranging from tradespeople to environmental specialists, human resources and engineers.

A pump trestle in the middle of a canola field on the banks of the Red Deer River Valley.

Alberta's oil and gas industry is the most successful in the world when it comes to many aspects of energy development. Collaborations between industry, government, and higher education institutions are directly responsible for the major technologies currently used in Alberta's energy sector.

The aeronautical industry

Alberta is an ideal location for the aviation industry thanks to its abundant land and wide open spaces that offer excellent flying conditions, so the province is theideal place to train pilots, especially as the global industry is facing a labour shortage. Business aviation is also a major contributor to Alberta's economy. The province is in fact home to 420 of 1900 business aircraft registered in Canada. Alberta companies also maintain, repair, overhaul, and transform military and commercial aircraft. This high-tech sub-sector also produces various components, such as aircraft parts and engines.

Based in Calgary, the airline WestJet offers regular flights to 100 destinations in North America, Central America, the Caribbean and Europe.

In addition, the aviation sector is supported by extensive rail and road networks, as well as through major logistics and warehousing centers. As the northern portion of the CANAMEX corridor and the seat of two transcontinental rail carriers, Alberta is therefore an important player in land transport. The province has the third largest freight trucking industry in the country. with 3,622 companies. As the practice of e-commerce continues to spread, the demand for aviation and efficient logistics is increasing and Alberta is positioned as an important distribution hub in North America.

Clean technology

The province of Alberta is a leader in the decarbonization of energy. Over the past decade, the province has reduced the carbon emissions intensity of its electrical grid as well as its oil and gas sector. By 2023, electricity generation in Alberta will be coal-free and the electrical grid will produce approximately 20 megatonnes of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per year, less than half of the 2015 level. In addition, the province will reach its Methane reduction target of 45% by 2025, thus demonstrating its commitment to reducing carbon emissions. Alberta was the first regional government in North America to commit to reducing methane emissions in the oil and gas sector.

The province is also home to two of the 18 global projects to reduce GHG emissions. The most recent, the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line, can sequester 14.6 million tons of carbon dioxide per year. The captured carbon is then used to produce hydrogen. Alberta, along with British Columbia and Saskatchewan, can produce hydrogen at half the wholesale cost of diesel and has the largest carbon capture and storage resources in Canada. The strong commitment to the environment in the energy sector offers investment opportunities, including in clean technologies and environmental services related to the decarbonization of energy.

Financial technology

The province has developed a global expertise in asset management, negotiation, mergers and acquisitions, corporate banking, equity issuance and in the insurance industry.

Financial technology companies have specialized in blockchain, cryptocurrency, insurtech, payment technology, capital markets, and investments, among other things. Fuelled by significant investments in the energy sector, Alberta's financial services have experienced exceptional growth over the past decade.

The city of Calgary is considered to be one of Canada's four global financial centers, with a cluster of more than 1400 financial services companies employing more than 20,000 people. The city is also home to an emerging fintech network that is well integrated into global markets. Additionally, 75% of the top 20 global investment banks have branches in Alberta. For its part, the city of Edmonton is one of the main Canadian centers for asset management and banking entrepreneurship. Four of Western Canada's largest financial institutions are headquartered in Edmonton, including one of the country's largest institutional investment fund managers.

State-of-the-art technology

Thanks to a solid talent pool, Alberta is a global tech hub. The province is home to over 3,000 technology companies.

Edmonton is one of the three centres at the heart of the Government of Canada's Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy, which is designed to develop the country's expertise in artificial intelligence and machine learning (ML). DeepMind, the artificial intelligence subsidiary of Google, welcomed the incredible talent emerging from the University of Alberta when it selected Edmonton for its first research lab outside of the United Kingdom. Businesses Benevity, Shareworks, Enverus Intelligence Research Inc. and Parvus Therapeutics are based in Calgary.

Les spécificités du marché du travail par secteurs d’activité


Agriculture is the second largest sector in Alberta. The province produces and exports a significant quantity of agricultural products primary and processed of high quality. Approximately one third of Alberta's land area is used for agriculture. Half of this agricultural land is used to grow crops and the rest to raise livestock. With 20.3 million hectares of agricultural land, abundant sunshine and extensive irrigation networks, the crop sector is very diverse. The farms are mainly focused on cattle breeding, canola and cereal crops.. Special crops such as sugar beets, potatoes, potatoes, peas, and mustard seeds are also important.

Beef cattle dominate animal production making Alberta, the first beef—producing province in Canada. Pigs, poultry, and sheep are also raised in the region.

Hilly landscape of the prairies in Alberta.


Forests cover over half (58%) of Alberta's land area, or 38 million hectares. Of this wooded area, about 60% (22.5 million hectares) are considered suitable for harvesting. Aspen, white spruce, and pine trees are the main commercial species and are used in the production of lumber, oriented strand board, newsprint, paper pulp, and paper.

Annually, the provincial government authorizes The harvest of 30.7 million m3 Of trees, including 18.7 million m3 of conifers and 12 million m3 of deciduous trees.

Natural gas production

Alberta is a global leader in the gas industry. Located in the heart of the sedimentary basin of Western Canada, the province is home to vast natural gas fields and produces over 70% of the country's marketable natural gas and essential minerals, including lithium and magnetite. The province's natural gas is competitive and trades at a reduced price compared to American suppliers, producing an affordable and reliable raw material for petrochemical plants. In 2020, Alberta produced on average 9.72 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas, or 63% of total Canadian production that year.

Alberta also has several petrochemical plants capable of transforming ethane, methane and propane into value-added products such as gasoline, fertilizer, and plastic. The province's four ethane cracking plants have a production capacity of 4.1 million tonnes per year, which represents nearly 80% of total ethylene production capacity in Canada.

Federal and provincial governments are committed to partnering with industry in order to address the challenges of the industrial sector. The province provides a favourable business climate with a strong focus on research and development.. The federal government offers significant fiscal incentives and the most generous tax regime for research and development in G-7 countries.


Tourism in Alberta is a major driver of the province's economy. The sector supports over 127,000 jobs and generated approximately $8.3 billion Canadian dollars in tourism spending in 2014. 40% of this spending, or about $3.3 billion, came from out-of-province resident visitors and international tourists.

Alberta counts 5 UNESCO World Heritage sites, over 480 provincial parks, 18 provincial historic sites and 5 national parks. The province contains a large portion of the Rocky Mountains. Alberta's most iconic tourist destination is the magnificent Banff National Park and its emerald green Lake Louise. With over 6,000 square kilometers of unspoilt landscapes, the region is home to numerous hiking trails, campgrounds, numerous ski hills, golf courses, hot springs, and wild rivers ideal for rafting.

Moraine Lake in Banff National Park.

Le commerce international et les accords commerciaux

With regard to export, Alberta plays a predominant role in Canada. For example, in the agri-food sector, The province is the largest exporter of meat products and the third largest exporter of agri-food products in Canada, behind Saskatchewan and Ontario. The United States remains Alberta's main trading partner, accounting for 40.5% of exports. Exports to China represent Alberta's second largest market, followed by exports to Japan.

THECanada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) is a revised version of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), signed on January 1, 1994, which was intended to facilitate trade between the United States, Mexico and Canada. In addition to being the most ambitious trade agreement in history, NAFTA also created The largest free trade area in the world and brought together two rich developed countries and one less developed State. The agreement thus made it possible to promote the development of international trade by removing tariff and non-tariff customs barriers and national regulations that could restrict the importation of goods and services. In 2017, the President of the United States, Donald Trump, threatened to renegotiate the agreement or even cancel it. After numerous renegotiations, NAFTA was replaced by CUSMA on 1Er July 2020. This new agreement facilitates the temporary entry of businessmen and women who have American, Mexican or Canadian citizenship and who are engaged in trade in goods or services or in investment activities. The agreement also removes the need for all businessmen and women subject to it to obtain a labour market impact assessment. Finally, in the case of professionals and intra-company transferees, CUSMA speeds up the application process because the application can be submitted at the country's point of entry.

The European Union (EU) is Canada's second largest trading partner. THEComprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union offers Canadian businesses a preferential access to the EU market and excellent growth opportunities in this region. September 21, 2022 marks the fifth anniversary of the provisional application of CETA. The agreement will come into full force when all EU member states have completed the ratification process. Until then, the provisional application of CETA continues and remains accessible to Canadian and European businesses. Since its creation, CETA has allowed a significant increase in bilateral trade and offered a particularly favourable environment for entrepreneurs on both sides of the Atlantic.

Alberta thus offers interesting prospects for French companies, specializing in the research and exploitation of hydrocarbons (crude oil), which wish to set up and develop in North America.

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