Plan to add new jobs on the way: Alberta’s economic development minister

Municipal Affairs Minister Deron Bilous, Red Deer County Mayor Jim Wood (far left), City of Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer and R.J. Steenstra (CEO of Red Deer Regional Airport Authority) check out the aircraft on display after Tuesday's announcement. Government of Alberta

EDMONTON – More than 600 leaders in industry, government and non-profit sectors met Thursday at the annual Stakeholder Update and Luncheon in Edmonton.

The event, hosted by Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association, opened up discussion about development in the Heartland region despite poor economic times.

READ MORE: Tracking the layoffs in Alberta’s oilpatch

“The recent downturn in the global economy has had far-reaching impacts right across our country,” Alberta’s Economic Development Minister, Deron Bilous, said. “I know we are feeling it especially hard within our province.”

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“Albertans are worried about the economic downturn and we know that this downturn impacts families, businesses and communities.”

Bilous added that the “government, our government, is taking action on the economy, with a plan to increase investment in infrastructure.”

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The Alberta NDP said it’s investing $34 billion over five years, and “making use of capacity available in the construction industry.”

READ MORE: Minister ‘pleased’ about $1B infrastructure boost for Alberta, Saskatchewan 

The federal government said it is also “working with all provinces, including Alberta and Saskatchewan, to move on existing infrastructure spending as quickly as possible.”

Bilous said a plan to add up to 27,000 new jobs will be announced in coming weeks.

READ MORE: Alberta NDP adding $5 million in funding for tech companies 

Also on Thursday, the NDP government also announced it would provide an additional $5 million in funding for technology-based businesses.

The government believes the additional money will help diversify the economy by allowing small innovative and technology-based businesses gain access to services and expertise they need to get their ideas and products to market.

With files from Slav Kornik & Erika Tucker, Global News

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