Export, Innovate, Invest - The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service

Canadian Trade Commissioner Service - Alberta and Northwest Territories

Sector Snapshots

Aerospace and Defence

Aerospace and Defence is a priority sector for trade offices in Alberta.

Employing over 5,000 highly-skilled workers, Alberta’s aerospace and defence industry is comprised of over 170 companies offering a wide range of goods and services:

  • robotics
  • unmanned vehicle systems (UVS)
  • defence electronics
  • space sciences
  • navigation and maintenance, and repair and overhaul (MRO) sub-sectors

Alberta is also home to the Canadian Centre for Unmanned Vehicle Systems (CCUVS) headquartered in Medicine Hat and envelops one of the largest regional UVS clusters in Canada. Alberta is also home to three of the most important military bases in Canada. CFB Cold Lake is the premier fighter training Base in the Canadian Air Force; CFB Wainwright is the centre for excellence for Canadian Army training; and CFB Suffield is one of the largest training areas in the world.

Oil and Gas Equipment and Services

Oil and Gas Equipment and Services is a priority sector for trade offices in Alberta.

Canada is a world leader in the production of conventional and synthetic crude oil and natural gas and gas products, and Alberta is the home of this industry. Alberta accounts for over 80% of Canadian natural gas production, holds the world’s second largest proven crude oil reserves (175 billion barrels) after Saudi Arabia, and produces the majority of the country's petroleum derived products. As such, energy development accounts for 31% of Alberta’s GDP, capital investments and exports.

Not surprisingly, Alberta’s energy resources have spawned a thriving industry in equipment and services related to energy extraction and processing, including metal fabrication, pipeline and pump manufacturing.

Alberta is also a centre of innovation and expertise in enhanced petroleum resource recovery and unconventional petroleum development. Further, energy resources also act as a backbone supporting other sectors and sub-sectors such as:

  • engineering, geological, construction and related professional services
  • geomatics, information technology, and communications
  • environmental technologies

Environmental Industries

Environmental Industries is a priority sector for trade offices in Alberta.

Generating 4.4 billion dollars in revenue, Alberta has a robust environmental products and services industry that includes 1330 companies and employs 28,000 Albertans. Alberta is recognized internationally as having considerable expertise in:

  • climate change and energy efficiency solutions
  • bioenergy
  • recycling and waste management
  • remediation
  • water treatment

Life Sciences - Health and Bio-Industrie

Life Sciences is a priority sector for trade offices in Alberta.

Alberta has long been a powerhouse of Life Sciences Research and Development, and is home to over 200 bioindustry companies. The majority of companies are located in and around Edmonton and Calgary.

The majority of Alberta firms operate in these four main subsectors:

  • Medical Devices and Equipment
  • E-Health
  • Health Pharma and Biotech
  • Agriculture Biotechnology

Information and Communications Technologies (ICT)

ICT is a priority sector for trade offices in Alberta.

Direct and indirect employment in Alberta's ICT sector exceeds an estimated 100,000 Albertans. The direct economic impact of close to 4300 companies with 54,500 employees is greater than $8 billion per annum. Studies of the indirect impacts from the province’s productivity gains in the past decade shows that AB's ICT sector drives up to 15% of AB's GDP, making it larger than forestry and third only to energy and agriculture.

Alberta’s ICT sector, with its origins in oil and gas related applications, now consists of world-class companies with expertise in diverse business areas, including:

  • digital content
  • e-learning
  • global positioning systems
  • health IT
  • micro-and nano-technology
  • software development
  • enterprise software
  • telecommunications
  • wireless communications
  • wireless technology for remote areas.

Service Industries & Capital Projects

Service Industries & Capital Projects is a priority sector for the trade offices in Alberta.

Alberta's architecture, engineering and construction sector comprises over 26,000 businesses that together generate annual revenues of more than CDN$50 billion. With over $450 million in exports annually, Alberta holds the highest per capita ratio for engineers and geosciences professionals in a province for Canada, and one of the highest in North America, making Alberta one of the Canadian hubs for Infrastructure activities along with the provinces of British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec.

As the global market outlook for cumulative international infrastructure spending is projected to grow to over $41 trillion between 2005 and 2030, a huge opportunity exists for Alberta companies in this sector.