Advertisement

Alberta takes ground-up approach to economic resilience

Province introduces a pilot recovery program roughly a year after devastating wildfires.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Alberta takes a ground-up approach to economic resilience in response to potential disasters, nearly a year after wildfires idled much of the provincial oil sector. File photo by MCpl VanPutten/Canadian Armed Forces. | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/3ce779d31eed1d6823ab89810ce03e93/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Alberta takes a ground-up approach to economic resilience in response to potential disasters, nearly a year after wildfires idled much of the provincial oil sector. File photo by MCpl VanPutten/Canadian Armed Forces. | License Photo

April 26 (UPI) -- Nearly a year after wildfires idled parts of its oil industry, Alberta's provincial government said it was taking a ground-up approach to disaster recovery.

Wildfires last May in the Fort McMurray area idled about 1 million barrels per day worth of regional oil production and forced mass evacuations across Alberta. That came as the oil-rich province was anticipating an $8 billion deficit and lingering recession because of the downturn in crude oil prices.

Advertisement

The government said it was introducing a pilot program aimed at providing local communities with the skill sets needed to protect their economies and accelerate recovery in the wake of a disaster.

"We know the timing and severity of natural disasters is out of our control, and that makes planning to protect against them and respond to them crucial for building resilient communities," Trade Minister Deron Bilous said in a statement.

RELATED Oil-rich Alberta stresses benefits of U.S. trade

Bilous returned this week from a trade mission to China and Japan, accompanying Alberta Premier Rachel Notley. The trade minister said Asian economies are "hungry" for Alberta goods, ranging from energy to forestry products.

The visit to Asian came as Alberta and broader Canada consider reconfigured trade policies with the United States, one of its largest trading partners. On Tuesday, the U.S. government said it introduced a 20 percent tariff on soft lumber from Canada, which Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said was the result of a "couple of decades of disputes."

Advertisement

"They're generally a good neighbor," Ross said of the Canadian partnership. "That doesn't mean they don't have to play by the rules."

RELATED China talks clean energy with Canada

Apart from energy products, forestry goods are a top export commodity for Canada. Provincial leaders said this is the fifth time since the early 1980s that Washington has complained about Canadian lumber subsidies and each case was ruled in Canada's favor by international tribunals.

Four communities in Alberta would participate in the economic resilience pilot program.

RELATED Hurdles remain for Keystone XL oil pipeline

Latest Headlines

Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement