Economic Development Alberta

Economic Developers Alberta

Which of the 17 SDGs is your organization working towards and actively promoting?

Please describe the actions/objectives towards achieving the SDGs that you have selected above. 

The Sendai Framework recognizes that while the State has a primary role to reduce disaster risk, the responsibility should be shared with other stakeholders including local government, the private sector and other stakeholders.

The Framework aims for “substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries”.

As an organization, we have been actively promoting effective community recovery and disaster resilience since 2013. We recognized that there was a critical need to help communities strengthen local capacity in order to prepare a comprehensive plan, mitigate various risks, respond to incidents, and recover from climate-related hazards and natural disasters.

In 2014, we worked with 10 Southern Alberta flood-impacted communities, brought in volunteer technical assistance teams and produced 10 individual business/economic recovery reports. This was the largest project of its kind in Canadian history.

In 2016-2017, we worked with Fort McMurray on its business/economic recovery efforts. This included setting up and running the Wood Buffalo Business Recovery Hotline; validating businesses for Red Cross emergency relief and leading a 10-person technical team to complete an economic recovery assessment including the production and release of a final report with over 50 recommendations on business and economic recovery for the region.

In 2017, I then:

  • Updated the Community Toolkit for Economic Recovery and Resiliency (Canadian Version). This resource can be downloaded for free from our website ( It is a tool to assist Canadian communities, emergency personnel and elected officials as they continue to prepare for, respond to, and recover from various types of natural, manmade and technological disasters.
  • Brought the “Economic Resilience Training for Community and Regional Leaders” course to Canada from the United States. This course was originally developed by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) in Washington, DC. In 2017, our organization did a pilot project with IEDC in 4 Alberta communities to customize the content for the Canadian market. We are now offering this course to all communities across Canada. The course includes the following modules:
    • Introduction to community economic resilience
    • Phases of a disaster
    • The federal government response after a disaster
    • Business assistance before and after a crisis
    • Creative financing to support businesses
    • Crisis communications
    • Economic resilience and diversification strategies after a disaster
    • Economic revitalization post disaster

All of our ongoing activities in this area help:

  • Improve education, awareness-raising, and increase human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation and impact reduction
  • Strengthen national and regional development planning efforts
  • Communities adopt and implement integrated policies and plans towards mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, and holistic disaster risk management
  • Decrease direct economic losses relative to global gross domestic product caused by disasters, including water-related disasters
  • Communities achieve higher levels of economic productivity and resilience through diversification and post-recovery efforts
  • Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation
  • Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure

Please specify the impact of your organization’s actions on the SDGs that you have selective above. 

Impacts are really defined as the long-term or indirect effects of outcomes. They are a bit hard to measure because they may or may not happen. They are about what we ‘hope’ our efforts will accomplish. In our case, we believe our ongoing activities will have the following impacts, related to the SDGs we outlined earlier:

  • Human Impact: Every disaster impacts people, particularly their lives, livelihood and quality of life. By helping individuals, businesses and communities become more prepared, they will be able to be more resilient, respond and recover more effectively.
  • Financial Impact: There is a need to substantially decrease the direct economic losses caused by disasters. It is no secret that the cost and frequency of natural disasters is on the rise. It has been reported that for every $1 of mitigation spent, you save $6-7 in recovery. That is a good return on investment. We believe by increasing awareness and education in this area, we will be able to help communities save money in recovery.
  • Organizational Impact:
    • Capacity building: By involving a range of community stakeholders in the training process, we will be able to build capacity, create awareness, and encourage comprehensive community-based responses.
    • Economic development: As our materials are developed from an economic development perspective, they inherently recognize and support positive economic, social and environmental links, and understand the relationship between mitigation planning, economic development, regional development, infrastructure, and resiliency.
    • Policy development: There is a need for communities to adopt and implement policies related towards mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, and holistic disaster risk management at all levels. By learning about real examples and best practices, communities are better able to design effective strategies and policies.
    • Recovery support functions: One of the six basic recovery support functions is specific to protecting and enhancing natural and cultural resources.
    • Resilience: Helping communities understand that it is important to develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all.

Please describe your goals/action plans to advance the SDGs that you have selected above in the next 5 years. 

Our main goal is to help create more disaster resilient communities in Canada.

While our core geographic area is Alberta, we know that we also have access to some of the best resources and experience in this regard, all of which have widespread application across Canada and beyond.

Over the next five years we will continue to:

  • Identify best practices in the area. This would be both regionally, nationally and internationally. We do not believe in reinventing the wheel. By identifying best practices and sharing them with communities, they are better able to adopt and/or modify them easily.
  • Train more communities in disaster resilience practices. As mentioned earlier, our resilience course was designed through an “economic development lens”. It trains community leaders to promote and sustain economic growth, utilize, and implement various economic diversification strategies. In doing so, communities are able to become more resilient to shocks. Our training also helps build local capacity by bringing together various stakeholders that may or may not already be working together.
  • Provide a range of tools and resources. Communities need access to good tools and resources. We will continue to seek these out, and if they are not available, we will design or customize them.
  • Provide technical teams/expertise when required. People and communities that have experienced disasters are usually the first ones to want to “pay it forward”. Economic developers have a history in the U.S., and increasingly in Canada, to participate as volunteers on technical teams to help communities recover from disasters. They bring specific expertise and experience which can be invaluable. We will continue to offer this service when and if communities request it, particularly in the area of business and economic recovery.
  • Organize events/webinars. We will continue to organize events and webinars in this area as we know providing up to date information is important. Delivering a message on the need to prepare and mitigate is often where these types of opportunities can be invaluable.
  • Align/partner with others engaged in this area. Given increasingly limited resources, we are always willing to align with like-minded groups and organizations to offer information, resources, training etc. in this area.

Does your organization engage in any partnerships to advance the SDGs? If yes, please elaborate. If no, please indicate whether you would be interested in partnership opportunities.

Our organization has a long history of partnering with other organizations in order to deliver our services and products. In 2019 we will celebrate our 45th anniversary.

Three more recent projects, specifically related to the SDGs are:

1. 2013 Southern Alberta Floods, Economic Disaster Recovery Project (EDRP)

Organizational Partners

  • Economic Developers Alberta (EDA)
  • International Economic Development Council (IEDC), Restore Your Economy
  • British Columbia Economic Development Association (BCEDA)
  • Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO)

Funding Partners

  • The Government of Alberta, Ministry of Innovation & Advanced Education
  • RBC Foundation
  • Shell Canada Limited
  • Consulate General of the United States of America, Calgary
  • Canadian Red Cross

2. 2016-17 Wood Buffalo Wildfires, Economic Disaster Recovery Project 2.0

Wood Buffalo Business Recovery Hotline:


  • Lead by Economic Developers Alberta (EDA) in collaboration with:
    • Canadian Red Cross – Hotline funding, financial assistance to eligible small businesses, program design and development, website updates and liaising with various stakeholders
    • Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Economic Development Department – Staff, resources, additional management support, liaison with various government and community stakeholders, RMWB website updates and communications
    • ATB Financial – Support with distribution of emergency funds to small businesses • ExecutivePulse Inc. – CRM system, survey development
    • AG Consulting – Business recovery consulting, hotline operations and strategic advice

Other Service Partners

  • Executive Solutions – Hotline staff schedules, payroll, recruitment services
  • Calgary Economic Development – Leased physical space in the Global Business Centre
  • Press & Post – Social media marketing campaign
  • TELUS – Phone set up and support

Wood Buffalo Technical Team:


  • Economic Developers Alberta (EDA)
  • International Economic Development Council (IEDC)
  • Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers (Cando)

3. Economic Resilience Training for Community and Regional Leaders pilot project


  • Economic Developers Alberta (EDA)
  • International Economic Development Council (IEDC)
  • Government of Alberta, CARES Program

Pilot Communities

  • Parkland County
  • Rocky View County
  • Town of Vegreville
  • Town of Whitecourt

How are you communicating and measuring your impact towards the SDGs?

Some of the ways to measure our impact towards the SDGs are through:

  • Developing additional partnerships
  • Implementing projects (e.g. technical teams, recovery support projects, response initiatives)
  • Engaging stakeholders
  • Training communities about resiliency
  • Providing strategic advice to communities
  • Recruiting economic recovery volunteers for technical teams
  • Speaking engagements (e.g. Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, Community Futures annual conference, AUMA, EDAC, IEDC etc.)
  • Doing media interviews
  • Tracking social media statistics/sharing
  • Reviewing course evaluations/feedback

We can also communicate our impact at our annual general meeting, on social media, through media interviews, and at speaking engagements where we are asked to speak about the work we are doing.

Additional Information