Central Alberta Economic Advantages

Economic Advantages

Are you an international investor with a desire to enter the Central Alberta market? Maybe you are a Central Alberta business owner looking to expand your business internationally. Either way, there are substantial advantages to your business decision and we are happy to show them to you!

Economic Advantages for the Investor

The entire world is just minutes away from Central Alberta ; you have access to an immediate trade area of 310,000 people and a distribution capability of almost 2.5 million people within a two-hour drive. With a hot business climate, pro-business policies and enticing incentives, Central Alberta is your land of opportunity.

  • Alberta offers one of the most competitive business tax environments in North America with no provincial capital taxes, payroll taxes or machinery and equipment taxes.
  • Alberta is the only province in Canada with no additional retail sales tax.
  • Number one in new business start-ups against 12 U.S. and all Canadian jurisdictions.
  • In 2014, Alberta had the highest productivity in the country. Total value added per hour in Alberta’s business sector was 44% higher than the Canadian average.

Alberta has profited from its strengths in agriculture, energy and industrial products to develop a vigorous and diversified economy consisting of a dynamic and innovative business climate shown by continual growth in the number of small businesses.

  • Alberta enjoyed an increase of 23.1% in small business establishments (defined as business establishments with less than 50 employees) between 2004 and 2014, the highest increase of any Canadian province.

Alberta wage and salary rates are competitive with the rest of Canada and with the United States. Alberta provides even more of a cost advantage compared to the U.S., when comparing total compensation rates, largely because of publicly funded health care.

Economic Advantages for the Business Owner

Want to grow your business? Exporting is key, and in Central Alberta it’s easy to get your products to market. Alberta is the only western province that offers overnight or less than 24-hour delivery service to all of Western Canada and the U.S. Pacific Northwest – a market of more than 15 million consumers.

  • Expanding your trade area allows you to take advantage of your company’s strengths and capabilities.
  • Selling internationally will hone your talent for innovation and create opportunities that can grow your business and take it to the next level.
  • Exporting can be a useful tool for small-to-medium sized enterprises wanting to build up their business and test product feasibility in previously unexplored markets.
Have you heard of EUREKA?

An international network for market-driven industrial Research and Development, EUREKA includes over 40 economies from the EU, Europe, Israel, South Korea, and Canada. Through Canada’s associate membership in EUREKA, Canadian trendsetters have a new advantage in gaining access to technology, expertise, and markets in Europe and beyond. The National Research Council (NRC) is the contact point for EUREKA; take advantage of our NRC connections.


Business Costs

Low Taxes

Central Alberta offers some of the lowest tax rates in the country. Cash in on our low property taxes, low corporate and personal income taxes and the lowest gasoline taxes in Canada. There are no business taxes in most Central Alberta municipalities.

Utilities Savings

Central Alberta offers competitively low natural gas and electricity rates. To find a list of all energy companies in Alberta and current and historic rates, visit the Alberta Government’s Utilities Consumer Advocate website.

Alberta Health Care

Universal healthcare guarantees medical care for all Albertans and reduces the cost to private businesses. Administering medical services through a publically funded system reduces the cost of private insurance for businesses. More on Alberta’s Health Care Insurance Plan.


Central Alberta is at the crossroads of major air, rail and ground transportation routes making it easy to ship goods and purchase supplies.

Major Alberta Highways

The Queen Elizabeth II Highway is a four-lane divided commercial highway that runs between Edmonton and Calgary and links the Alaska Dempster Highway to U.S. Interstate I-15.

Canamex Corridor

The CANAMEX corridor is a seamless transportation route between Canada, the United States and Mexico.

The TransCanada

Quick access to the TransCanada Highway links Canada port-to-port from Vancouver on the west coast to Halifax on the east.

By Rail

Two national rail services provide Central Alberta with transcontinental freight service, with two intermodal facilities in Calgary and Edmonton.

In The Air

Central Alberta is served by the Red Deer Airport (YQF), one of the busiest regional airports in Canada. Edmonton and Calgary’s international airports are located along the Queen Elizabeth II highway which runs through the region.

Programs & Incentives

Access Prosperity has relationships with the over 40 municipalities in Central Alberta, many of which have progressive Investment Readiness Strategies that include incentives and programs for new businesses.

Access Prosperity is your link to programs offered by the federal and provincial governments; contact us to make meaningful connections with the appropriate officials.

Strong Economy


  • Alberta leads all provinces in economic growth during the past 20 years, with an average annual GDP growth of 3.2% per year, between 1995 and 2015.
  • In 2014, the Alberta economy expanded by 4.4 per cent, the highest provincial growth rate. By comparison, the Canadian economy grew by 2.5 per cent in 2014.
  • Alberta’s manufacturing foundation is quickly growing. Between 2005 and 2015, sales in the manufacturing sector increased by 13% to $68 billion.
  • In 2015, per capita investment spending in Alberta was $19,716. This investment is the 2nd highest spending of all provinces, and more than 2.5 times the Canadian average of $7,046 per capita.
  • Since 2005, Alberta employment has grown an average of 48,000 new jobs per year: a growth rate of 2.4 per cent per annum. In 2015, employment in the Alberta economy increased by 26,500 from 2014.
  • Alberta exports rose 91% between 2004 and 2014. A growing number of those exports are manufactured products and services.

Looking at figures regarding local and growth investment, you can see why Central Alberta has been a leading region in this movement towards greater prosperity.

Economic Diversity: 2015

Percentage Distribution of GDP
Total GDP: $333.1 Billion (values in %)

Central Alberta Economic Diversity

Sources: Alberta Treasury Board and Finance and Alberta Economic Development and Trade

Education & Research

Educating Experts

They’re here, they’re trained, they’re capable and ready to work. Central Alberta has two major colleges, Red Deer College and Olds College, which provide skilled employees. Close to one-third of the population has obtained a post-secondary qualification. In 2014 there were over 10,000 Central Alberta students enrolled in a post-secondary institution; almost 6,000 of those participants were registered in a designated apprenticeship training program. There are over 800 certified apprentices in the region.

  • In 2014, 64.9% of Alberta’s labour force aged twenty-five years and older reported holding a university degree or post-secondary diploma or certificate

Cutting-Edge Research

The region’s educational facilities offer targeted programs for the major sectors of Central Alberta’s economy; below are just a few examples.

Specialists in Manufacturing

Red Deer College’s Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing trains technical specialists in the design and development of prototypes, technology commercialization and lean manufacturing. This unique facility allows industry, faculty and students to mentor and inspire each other. Red Deer College also works with industry to develop customized trades apprenticeship and training programs.

Agricultural Research

Central Alberta is also home to the Field Crop Development Centre and the Lacombe Research Centre, two pioneering research facilities that develop and commercialize products and processes for the Central Alberta agricultural sector.

Olds College Centre for Innovation is a state-of-the-art research facility for research, commercialization and innovation in sustainable agriculture and the environment. The school’s Biofuel Technology Centre and Bioindustry Resources Centre bring together students and researchers from institutions across Canada and around the world.

It is important to back up business and investment decisions with solid evidence.