BIC January 2016

Page 1


2016: The Chamber

Challenge PM41126516

Denis Painchaud’s year of opportunity



18 |




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Supporting the visions of entrepreneurs one story at a time. Volume 26 | Number 1


12 14

Better Late Than Never By Richard Bronstein

2016: The Year of Uncertainty By Frank Atkins


Guest Columnist: A Sign of the Times By Adam Pekarsky



2016: The Chamber Challenge Denis Painchaud’s year of opportunity By John Hardy

ON OUR COVER: Denis Painchaud, the 2016 chair of the Calgary Chamber






Urbanomics Urban Development Discussion: Calgary Housing Starts By John Hardy

71 81 86

Leading Business The Calgary Report Current developments for Calgary Telus Convention Centre, Tourism Calgary, Calgary Economic Development, and Innovate Calgary

Marketing Matters By David Parker


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Supporting the visions of entrepreneurs one story at a time. Volume 26 | Number 1




C asabella

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22 34

The TFWP Compromise New rules or go home! By Dan Cooper

Workplace Health and Wellness Generation-driven changes By Parker Grant

41 58 60 8

63 67

T he Turnaround Expert crystal ball guesswork By John Hardy

M anufacturing Gets No Respect 10.6 per cent of the GDP and holding steady By Dan Cooper

Alberta Independent Schools: Serving Students, Parents and Communities

Residential Real Estate By Melanie Darbyshire

Lease For Lease Calgary sublease rates are down 50 per cent By Melanie Darbyshire



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REGULAR CONTRIBUTORS Richard Bronstein Frank Atkins David Parker

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ell my clothes, I’ve died and gone to heaven. After nagging about this subject for years, I feel downright giddy with the announcement in late November of the Alberta Climate Leadership Plan.

around 70 million tonnes. The meaning of this is if we want to expand oilsands production in the future, we will have to do so by becoming more efficient producers. That’s a tall order and perhaps the wonkiest part of the plan.

Our little plan will not by itself save the world from climate hell. But it is a huge step for Alberta. We are one of the few, if only, oil-producing regions in the world to heed the call for change. That means a lot.

But if we don’t accept the challenge to try, then for sure the oilsands industry will be dead meat in the next 20-30 years and Alberta will have a dust-bowl economy.

It is also important that this announcement was made jointly by the provincial government, leaders of Alberta’s largest oil producers, representatives of environmental groups, and First Nations people. I think credit for this probably goes to Andrew Leach, the University of Alberta economist, for putting together this grand coalition. A big part of this plan calls for phasing out coal-fired electricity by 2030 and replacing it with natural gas and renewable electricity. The government says it will find ways of helping our coal workers and communities to adapt. The second major feature of the Alberta climate plan is a carbon tax. That means taxing consumers, the end users of carbon energy. Everybody knows that price is the greatest incentive to altering choices. A carbon tax will generate revenue that we can invest in clean energy R&D, public transit and other green infrastructure. That kind of investment coupled with private funds will help Alberta stay competitive and stimulate innovation. The third cog of the plan is to cap oilsands at 100 million tonnes of emissions per year. We are currently emitting



The issue is we can’t continue doing business as usual. We have to change to protect our environment, our health and the future well-being of Alberta’s children. The government’s plan is not the final answer. All it does is give us a leg to stand on while we figure out how the world is changing and how Alberta can best adapt. The bold thing about Premier Rachel Notley’s plan is that it proposes opening a new conversation about the future of Alberta. It is a complete rejection of the old hillbilly politics of the province. It offers a bold new vision in the way that Premier Peter Lougheed did. This is not about being a climate change believer or denier. It is about recognizing that our current economic model was created when the world had two or three billion people. We now have eight, soon 10 billion people. Each of them energy users. The old ways of doing things are broken and the new ways are not proven yet. I think it is a credit to Premier Notley, environmental NGOs, leaders of industry and First Nations that Alberta is consciously choosing a bold new path.

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The Year of Uncertainty BY FRANK ATKINS


t can be said that 2015 was not a good year for Alberta – the world price of oil collapsed, we elected an NDP government, and federally we elected a Liberal government. These three events are going to lead to a period of uncertainty in 2016. Whether or not the world price of oil will rebound is unknown. It is probably time that economists stopped pretending that we can produce any meaningful forecasts of the world price of oil. Certainly, a lot of economists who are familiar with world oil markets have a good idea of what the world price of oil will be over the next several weeks, perhaps even months. However, beyond that, nobody has any real idea. This is mostly because the world oil market is subject to shocks, most of which cannot be foreseen. Therefore, 2016 will be a year of uncertainty with respect to any recovery in the oil market. Ms. Notley’s NDP government seems to exhibit a lack of understanding of the role of uncertainty in an economy. Ms. Notley keeps telling everyone to remain calm, yet at the same time instituting policies that scare almost everyone, except the socialists. How could a royalty review, a climate change panel and increase in taxes not scare almost everyone? Ms. Notley has introduced a carbon tax which she claims is revenue neutral when it is not, adding more uncertainty. Also, raising taxes when an industry is depressed is just bad economic policy. In what can only be called a massive contradiction, Ms. Notley asked that we all have a discussion about climate change without getting hysterical. Ms. Notley’s administration is full of individuals who, before they joined

the Notley government, were part of various hysterical leftwing anti-oil groups. Therefore, from an Alberta government perspective, I see the uncertainty intensifying in 2016. At the federal level, we have elected Trudeau the Junior. This is a man who stated during the campaign that, “It’s time to kick-start the economy,” indicating that, like his father, he has a strong belief that an economy cannot run properly without a great deal of government involvement. Like his father, Trudeau the Junior believes that increased government spending and running deficits makes good economic policy. This is possible small short-term gain for likely large long-term pain. We should remember that when Trudeau the Elder left office in 1984, the annual deficit was in the neighbourhood of $40 billion, the national debt had ballooned, and we were left with much higher taxes. We should also remember the energy policies instituted by Trudeau the Elder, who created Petro-Canada and the infamous national energy program (NEP). The NEP was a rather convoluted interventionist policy which was basically an assault on the energy industry. To see the similarities of father and son on the energy file, look no further than one of Trudeau the Junior’s top advisers, Gerald Butts. Mr. Butts is a former executive of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). It is fairly clear where the WWF stands on the question of oil in general and the oilsands in particular. There is clear potential here for energy and climate policy that punishes the energy industry. Welcome to Alberta’s nightmare of uncertainty. Frank Atkins is Research Chair of Finance & Capital Markets at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.




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A Sign of the Times BY ADAM PEKARSKY


t was with some incredulity that I recently read about Calgary receiving recognition as the number one ranked city to run a business in Canada. According to a new report by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), “Calgary’s surrounding area is outstandingly fertile for entrepreneurial pursuit.” The report describes how, for the fourth year in a row, and based on a wide range of data and metrics, Calgary was chosen as Canada’s top place to start and grow a business in 2015. Montreal, for what it’s worth, was last, the report citing “high taxes in general, red tape and concerns about the future harming its entrepreneurial appeal.” High taxes, red tape and an uncertain future, you say? Ironic then that our small business has been dogged, delayed and dragged through the municipal muck and minutiae of a process that was the furthest thing from “fertile for entrepreneurial pursuit.” You see, last spring we decided to affix a Frisbee-sized red ampersand (our logo) to the face of our building on Stephen Ave. I know. A sign. For a business. On a busy pedestrian mall. That’s some pretty crazy entrepreneurial visioning but, hey, this is Calgary. And that was April. It remains incongruous to me that one of the most important factors cited in the CFIB report in support of Calgary’s first place finish was “regulatory burden” (or, presumably, lack thereof). “Regulatory burden,” says the report, “is the second most important issue for small business owners as it generates high costs to business owners in terms of time and money. The higher the proportion of business owners who cite regulatory burden as an issue, the worse off municipalities are in creating a sound environment for businesses.” (The most important being tax burden.)

Happily, in late October, seven months after deciding to install the sign, I received a phone call from our building’s property manager, who had been in touch with Triple Five Permits (self-described “sign permit experts”), who in turn had liaised with the city after consultation with West Canadian Graphics, and finally white smoke billowed from the Apostolic Palace declaring: the sign shall be installed on Friday, October 30. I don’t think it’s the city that makes the entrepreneur; it’s the entrepreneurs that make the city. We are left simply to fight the fight in spite of, not because of, any entrepreneurial do-goodery by our civic, provincial or federal fertile surroundings. Rather, we continue doing what we do best: we get out there and speak, write, sponsor, host, bring people together and, really, make our own luck. “The harder I work, the luckier I get,” Henry Ford once said. We firmly believe that Calgary has long been a city of optimists: people inspired to succeed by their own talents and efforts and it remains so. Calgary has always attracted self-starting doers, who cultivated the values of volunteerism, integrity and hospitality alongside a “can-do” spirit and pride of place. At Pekarsky & Co. we spend our waking hours helping our clients attract the very best people to their organizations and, despite the brutal 2015 that was, our firm has recently been named one of Alberta’s fastest growing companies, which is proof positive that companies are still hiring and we’re still helping them do it. Whether you’re surrounded by red ink, red tape or simply trying to stick a red dinner plate to a wall, only you can make it happen.

Adam Pekarsky is a self-described recovering lawyer and founding partner of Pekarsky & Co., Western Canada’s leading executive search firm.




Can Make or Break a Business

Let’s Ask an EOer


n entrepreneurial spirit, balance sheets, bottom lines, vision, innovation and teamwork are important dimensions of contemporary business. But the essential key to business success is sometimes overlooked: morale! “Staff morale is a critical component of corporate culture and can have a direct impact on company success,” says Tara Kelly, president and CEO of SPLICE Software and an EO Calgary member. “Positive morale contributes to an environment of passion and motivation that inspires people to work hard and work as a team. The more people truly believe in their team, their company and its goals, the more likely they are to work towards them and contribute to the success of the company.” “It’s hard to measure the true value of staff morale,” admits David Walker, CEO and owner of Immaculate Escapes – helping true fans have truly immaculate experiences – and an EO Calgary member. “It has always been of the utmost importance in any business. It’s a barometer of how the little things the employer has put into place are working. Morale has a direct impact on the company’s profitability. Employees often complete tasks to maintain a paycheque, but it is their pride and their morale that determine if they go over and above by living and demonstrating the company’s beliefs.” For John MacInnes, president of Print Audit and an EO Calgary member, “Morale comes from confidence. It presents itself as enthusiasm and ability. The value is a general feeling of knowing what needs to be done and how to get it done. This results in the execution of plans which usually increases the bottom line.” Most business leaders agree that while positive morale is vital

and invaluable, they caution that negative morale is also a potent factor. “It breeds poor corporate culture and can be very damaging to a company’s success,” Kelly points out. “It can lead to a culture of apathy where employees don’t truly buy in to the company goals and are less likely to work towards the goals. Poor corporate culture can discourage teamwork and has a ripple effect that can demotivate other employees in the company.” MacInnes agrees. “Sometimes it’s simply a wrong personality on a team. More often, poor morale comes from poor communication as to what is expected.” “One of the most common ways for an employer to damage morale is to take a one-size-fits-all approach to staff,” Walker warns. “Morale comes from feeling as if you are part of a team, part of something bigger than yourself, and understood individually; small things that can positively affect morale much more than simple monetary raises or bonuses; understanding an individual’s personal circumstances and making a genuine difference to their quality of work or home life.” Although specific company attitudes and ways of dealing with morale are uniquely individual, Kelly emphasizes the value and ways to generate good morale. “Catch people doing the right thing. Celebrate taking risks. Challenging ourselves to take risks grow innovation and success. Give your team the freedom to test new ideas even if it leads to failure. Encourage a culture of teamwork. Be transparent about company goals and ensure how each individual and department works together to contribute to the goals.”

Contributing Members:

Upcoming Events: Jan 21 • EO Blades Olympics - Charity Event

John MacInnes

David Walker

Tara Kelly

President of Print Audit and an EO Calgary member

CEO and owner of Immaculate Escapes and an EO Calgary member

President and CEO of SPLICE Software and an EO Calgary member

The international Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) is the respected, world-wide business networking group — with more than 10,000 members in 35 countries — where business leaders meet informally to brainstorm, compare notes, learn and share relevant discussions about business. EO has 122 chapters around the world, including the Calgary chapter which is the fifth largest and one of the most active EO chapters in the world.


For membership inquiries:


URBANOMICS | Urban Development Discussion

Calgary Housing Starts … the numbers tell the story BY JOHN HARDY


algary and area builders and developers are starting the new year with gutsy resilience, cautious positivity and an occupational basic: planning ahead.

comparisons and analysis, especially the common year-to-date (YTD), is particularly tricky and skewed because – despite the 2015 slump – 2014 was a record year for Calgary housing starts.

In the best and most normal of times (if there is ever such a reliable luxury), planning ahead for economy, consumer and lifestyle trends is a given in the new homebuilding business.

She cautions that because 2014 was such a record, comparisons of actual housing start numbers is not really comparing apples to apples. “The record 2014 numbers shows a total of 17,131 starts: 6,494 single-family homes and 10,637 multi-family, a majority being condos.

The energy sector downturn of 2015 was just an added speed bump in the process. In Calgary, as in all major Canadian housing markets, builders rely on “new home starts” as the vital measure of how things are going. And Calgary new home starts are a direct result of not only market conditions like the economy and jobs but, ultimately, consumer confidence. Few know or track that basic but vital fact better than Wendy Jabusch, president of Canadian Home Builders’ AssociationCalgary Region (CHBA). She explains that housing start

“Late last year, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) came out with a new and revised forecast of Calgary housing starts,” she explains. “Although it’s lower than expected, mostly due to the unrelenting low oil prices, the 2015 forecast showed 4,000 single-family home starts (down 38.4 per cent) and 7,900 condo unit starts (down 25.7 per cent).” According to Jabusch, both 2016 and 2017 Calgary housing starts, although still lower than 2014, will be 40 per cent





single-family and 60 per cent multi-family. The single-family detached starts and the increase in multi-family starts are trackable to several Calgary reasons. “Affordability is a big factor,” Jabusch emphasizes. “The average single-family detached absorbed price in the Calgary CMA (and surrounding area) was $514,466 in 2010. When last year’s numbers are finalized, CMHC projects the Calgary average price of $745,000, up 17.3 per cent from 2014. “Several factors skew the averages, including the strength of the 2014 economy supporting a lot more luxury homes; also the price increase of Calgary land meant builders paid more for lots.”

and more people today are choosing a multi-family home as their preferred living space. This includes single-person households, the millennials who want to live downtown, boomers who are retiring and moving to smaller homes, and buyers who have emigrated from countries where multifamily housing is familiar. “The makeup of today’s new community neighbourhoods has changed dramatically from many older communities, and they have become a desired choice for many people. These communities have choice of living space, amenities, mixed uses, places where people can live, work and play and stay for their whole lives. High- and low-rise apartments, town houses, duplexes and single-family homes on smaller lots have all become more and more in demand. Builders are fulfilling that demand.” For the multi-family market, inventory is rising and additional upward pressure is expected in 2016. An elevated number of units were under construction last year, brought on by a record number of multi-family starts in the previous year. “But it also means there will always be a role for singlefamily homes in all neighbourhoods. It should combine to offer Calgary homebuyers good choices.”

Jabusch also references the Calgary Municipal Development Plan (MDP) goal to increase density in the inner-city areas, with more starts in established Calgary neighbourhoods, where property values are higher. It also skews prices for new inner-city homes much higher than in outlying neighbourhoods and also caused a bigger demand for more “affordable” choices in the inner city, especially for first-time buyers. “It continues a key aspect of our CHBA advocacy with all levels of government across Canada, to keep housing more affordable by offering all types of housing in all urban areas to give people choices and the chance to realize the dream of home ownership,” adds Jabusch. “In Calgary and other major Canadian markets,” she points out, “our demographic makeup is definitely changing. More

The Calgary housing start numbers underscore the reality that the decline in oil prices has impacted area employment, income growth and confidence in the housing market. Jabusch acknowledges that it has kept many buyers on the sidelines and has reduced demand and 2015 housing starts. “Overall, Calgary starts are down. Of course it’s a consequence of the downturn, but there are also the two dramatic changes in governments, provincial and federal, each with different philosophies than the previous regimes. It also adds to uncertainty and a weaker consumer confidence, even among Calgary people who do not work in the energy sector. Buyers are proceeding more cautiously, possibly, delaying decisions to see what this year will bring. “Now we have more time to plan ahead, readjust our business plans and prepare for the next steps in our future,” Wendy Jabusch adds with positivity.





NOVACAP Makes Strategic Investment Onstream Pipeline Inspection Services Inc. to Accelerate Growth Plan

NOVACAP TMT, one of Canada’s leading private equity firms, is pleased to announce the completion of a strategic investment in Onstream Pipeline Inspection Services Inc., a leading Canadian provider of pipeline in-line inspection solutions for the oil and gas industry. Headquartered in Calgary, Onstream will leverage its partnership with NOVACAP to enhance its operations, engage in strategic growth opportunities and accelerate funding of key research and development programs to continue building the company’s market leadership position. Onstream’s innovative smart pipeline inspection gauges for “unpiggable” lines have made it the industry leader in the Canadian tethered inspection market, and among the largest players in the Canadian small-bore free-swimming inspection market, due in large part to its innovative and integrated proprietary software and hardware technologies. “Onstream’s historical success can be attributed to exceptional management and best-in-class customer service, to say nothing of their superior technology,” says Pascal



Tremblay, president and managing partner of NOVACAP. “They are already a leader in their field in Canada, but we plan to take Onstream to new heights. We look forward to working directly with management to grow the business.” With nearly 50 highly trained employees, Onstream’s in-line inspection solutions are essential to many multibillion-dollar blue-chip companies to maintain the structural integrity of their pipeline infrastructure and avoid potential failures. “We could not be more thrilled to be teaming up with NOVACAP,” says Chad Niehaus, co-founder of Onstream. “Their wide range of experience and track record of success make them the perfect partner.” “NOVACAP and Onstream working together will achieve new heights. It’s the logical next step in this company that we’ve worked hard to build over the past decade,” says cofounder Gerry Wilkinson. The NOVACAP TMT IV fund made the investment in Onstream.

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Compromise New rules or go home!



usiness reaction to the ongoing and convoluted new rules about the federal Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP) varies from province to province and region to region. It usually ranges from disappointment, confusion and concern to anger and exasperation. In June 2014, the federal government clamped down on the popular TFWP, virtually putting foreign workers and their employers on notice about strict new rules, which came into effect on April 1, 2015. Government explanations for the clampdown and TFWP overhaul included federal government concern about TFWs taking jobs from Canadians, fraudulent claims, incidents of system abuse by employers and the controversy of cheap labour and minimum wage. As of 2013, there were 44,989 temporary workers in Alberta, the highest number in any province and about 20 per cent of all TFWs in Canada. Since last April, the onus has been on employers to limit the number of TFWs to 10 per cent of their staff. And TFWs who had overstayed their permit were notified to leave by April 1.



The jolt was immediate. Restaurants, factories, car washes, hotels and motels, grocery retailers and other businesses that had come to rely on TFWs scrambled about staffing and strategizing for survival. The government’s 2014 notice triggered much concern, protests and the hiring of consultants and lawyers to discuss possible options. And the lobbying from business seems to have worked, albeit cluttered with some snags and hidden complications. In February, the federal government announced a temporary compromise. Changes to the changes now allow a bit of a reprieve: a one-time, one-year bridging work permit, as long as the TFW applies for permanent residency or is waiting for a decision about their application. From the employer’s perspective, the government is providing a one-time exemption, virtually making them immune from being counted under the new rule crackdown that requires a 10 per cent cap on TFWs. The exemption also means that employers may continue to seek approvals to bring in new TFWs while their existing workers wait for word about permanent immigrant status.



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“Few families want to uproot their families even for well-paying jobs in remote and rural communities, and many simply will not take lower paying jobs,” Veress says from much experience. He suggests that the TFWP is vital, especially for balancing out the boom-bust cycles of the Alberta economy. “In bad times, many people begrudgingly take low and semi-skilled jobs and only stay until the job market improves. This leaves many employers scrambling for stable, reliable workers. TFWs are different. Regardless the job, they typically come for a one- to four-year contract, they are steady and employers can rely on them.” Few groups more effectively represent (and lobby) for the concerns of small business than the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). And for the past 16 months or so, the TFWP has been a hot CFIB issue. “TFWs have been a real lifeline for small businesses that have been unable to find enough Canadians to work in certain – particularly entry-level – jobs,” warns Richard Truscott, the focused Alberta and B.C. vice president of CFIB. “It’s not that they are bad jobs, or that there aren’t enough hard-working Canadians, it’s just that there aren’t enough people to fill all the demand. The downturn in the economy has taken some of the heat off, but there are still many small businesses in dire need of qualified people. “If it wasn’t for the TFWP, many small businesses would have to put their growth plans on hold, limit operations or shut down, which may also put Canadian jobs at risk,” he says. “Permanent residency is not an option for many temporary workers. But there absolutely needs to be more pathways to permanent residency for them. CFIB has proposed that TFWP be replaced with a new Introduction to Canada Visa. Instead of a temporary program, the new two-year visa would be the first step toward permanent residency, and targeted at workers with more junior skill sets. It would simultaneously address critical shortages for small businesses while providing a clear path for foreign workers to become a permanent part of our economy and our communities.”

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Despite lobbying, rules, regulations, stats and theories, nothing speaks to the real issue better than practical business specifics, facts and reality. One random, local example is Taylor Sun, the affable but concerned owner and operator of Calgary’s two Contemporary Coachworks shops, specializing in maintaining and repairing both import and domestic vehicles. “It’s tougher than ever trying to find workers in the auto body trade. Part of the problem is bad stereotypes about the industry, most people want a trade and most of all because nobody wants $15 an hour to wash cars. In fact, no Canadian wants to wash cars,” he points out from more than 30 years of Calgary experience.

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“When I started hiring TFWs nine years ago, it saved my business. We kept growing and expanded and now we have so much business that we don’t know what to do. The toughest part of the business is finding workers.” Today, Taylor Sun employs 60 workers. About 25 are TFWs. “Losing them would be devastating. Even before the rules changed, it was expensive to bring a worker into Calgary. And there are no rules preventing them from walking away and working somewhere else. There’s a big underground economy. “I want to stay in business, but the government won’t listen to me.”

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2016: The Chamber

Challenge Denis Painchaud’s year of opportunity



enis Painchaud, the 2016 chair of the Calgary Chamber, is gung-ho and positive about (almost) all things Calgary: Calgary opportunity; Calgary’s business diversity; Calgary people and Calgary’s talent pool; Calgary innovation and expertise; Calgary’s entrepreneurial spirit; Calgary’s reputation; Calgary’s vision; and Calgary’s future. But he sheepishly admits to one quirky and lovable hint of Calgary treason! “Despite the dragged-out oil sector downturn which obviously impacts many aspects of Calgary business,” Painchaud says with focused enthusiasm, “I am unconditionally confident that Calgary will rebound and

continue being perceived as one of the most vibrant and sustainable business environments in the world. “Calgary has such a multidimensional edge when it comes to being a superb place to do business. The number one factor is Calgary’s young, motivated, talented, hard-working and innovative workforce. We have attracted the best of the best, from around the world, and it’s mostly due to our reputation. Calgary has a significant work pool that is unmatched in North America,” he adds. “It’s one of several reasons why businesses locate here. They know they will staff up with quality people.”




Recent stats show that the current average age of Calgarians is 36.4 and Painchaud underscores that as a key Calgary business factor. “It’s an important positive! It’s people with a lot of runway left in their working lifetime, and they want a place for opportunity. They are tech-savvy, current, innovative and visionaries. The young demos in the Calgary workplace are a great barometer of strength for the economy.” Painchaud is director of international government relations with Nexen, the giant global upstream oil and gas company that develops energy resources in Western Canada, the U.S., the U.K., South America, eastern Europe and offshore west Africa. His challenging day-job role is to support Nexen’s work and activities in the international marketplace and to work closely with many government officials, technical experts, regulatory agencies as well as assessing and managing above-ground risks in countries where Nexen operates. From his Nexen mandate, he knows (better than some) the vital role of oil and gas in the Calgary economy, the reality of cycles in the energy industry and the impact of the 2015 downturn. “The oil and gas industry has a history of cycles. Businesses in Calgary, and people who live and work in the Calgary area, realize that the cycles are unpredictable and inevitable. In a way, I think it has helped Calgary create a culture of reality and resilience. “A look back shows that we have beaten the averages, every time. Mostly due to one common factor: we work hard and we find innovative ways. We come out stronger.” Like other Calgary-based business leaders in various sectors, he concedes that, despite the regularity of cycles in the energy sector, the 2015 slump continues to be different from recent others. “This time there are undoubtedly some unusual impacts and unfortunate ripple effects. Like reduced investment, people losing jobs and some businesses putting future plans on hold,” he says with emotion. “This time, things may not only take longer to sort themselves out but, after the turnaround, the new normal may turn out to be different. We’re not likely to see $100 per barrel again. Maybe $75 to $90 could eventually be the new normal.”



The high-energy, 2016 Chamber chair cites the popular phrase about “when the going gets tough, the tough get going,” and emphasizes with positivity that Calgary’s turnaround, and the new normal, may also be a Calgary Chamber opportunity! According to the Chamber’s defined target and commitment, “The goal is to solve business problems, and push the social and political agenda in the way necessary to make our city a better place to do business, regardless of political leanings or affiliations.” Painchaud also points out that this is the Chamber’s 125th anniversary of doing whatever it takes – in good times and not-so-good times – and it continues to earn a respected and deserving reputation for being one of the most progressive and influential Chambers in Canada. “It’s more important than ever for our Chamber, and the Calgary business community, to look carefully at the impact and the numbers – the people numbers and the business numbers – and get together to help make the right decisions and how we can best support business to achieve the turnaround. It’s an opportunity for the Chamber to be involved and help Calgary business move forward,” he urges with focus and commitment. “In our advocacy role with governments, the Chamber can be helping to create incentives on various essential issues like education and retraining. It’s not really a core function of the Chamber but we can help connect people.” In many ways, he is well suited for the Chamber challenge of building vital rapport and managing the agenda that is being developed for 2016 and beyond. In his Nexen role, Painchaud hopscotches the world to where his company does business – from the U.K. North Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and throughout Canada to Yemen, Colombia, Nigeria and Poland – or takes part in global energy conferences and symposiums, discussing, negotiating, proposing and dealing with government, industry and regulatory types about the gamut of technical and often touchy issues within the oil and gas industry. He routinely juggles industry expertise, facts, trending and hot topics with exceptional people skills, diplomacy and

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that above-ground risk was just as important. So we also looked at things like fiscal regimes and environmental rules.” The perfect combination of industry professionalism and diplomacy. With genuine respect but to make his industry point, he mentioned Alberta’s oilsands as an example. “We see where opposition has been significant and where the industry got a tarnished reputation, even though we really had quite a story to tell. We had information to counter the attacks from the environmentalists. And yet, as we moved into shale gas, whether in North America or in Europe, we didn’t have our story together.

the specialized business-touch of listening and offering persuasive arguments. A good example was during his speech at the CEE Unconventional and Shale Gas Development Forum in Budapest, Hungary. He was asked a question about the industry managing the delicate political aspects that come with the growing popularity of shale gas. He didn’t flinch. He had his facts. Most importantly, he was focused and diplomatic. He pointed out that, although there were a lot of emotions involved, he emphasized the positivity of the two working together. He explained that his company had done a survey of European shale gas opportunities, in search of an optimal working atmosphere to develop shales, and explained that, “Although Nexen looked at the rocks and the prospectivity across different basins of Europe, we realized



“We have associations and I think we default to them, so we don’t have to get involved as individual companies, other than to write the cheque at the end of the month. I think we’ve been hesitant as an industry to tell our story!” Solid, authoritative and blunt. It’s good business, and it’s Denis Painchaud’s style. He now brings it home, to deal with Calgary Chamber issues. “Business in the Calgary area is so dynamic and we have such terrific momentum. We may have been slowed down a bit, but we are absolutely not stopping. Unfortunately the oil and gas sector has taken a hit and it does impact other businesses. “It’s also a fact that other parts of the Calgary business picture and the Calgary economy are strong and doing fine,” he cites with enthusiasm. “Like Calgary’s rank as a transportation hub, the manufacturing sector and


Managing properties in Calgary & surrounding area for 35 years. hospitality. According to the numbers, last summer’s Calgary restaurant business was the best ever!” As he prepares to lead the Chamber into what many hope will be a turnaround year, Painchaud has goals and targets that he is anxious to develop, together with the Chamber’s various committees. Among numerous gung-ho ideas, he mentions increasing member value, the importance of enhancing Chamber relationships with other business organizations and perhaps staging an annual signature event, like a conference or some other major project that will become synonymous with the Chamber. He also plans to lead the Chamber to collaborate with all levels of elected officials, investigate ways to tap into Calgary’s entrepreneurial culture and define viable ways to diversify Calgary business and grow Calgary’s economy.

Managing properties in Calgary & surrounding area for 35 years.

As a plugged-in Calgary resident, a business and community leader and now, as Chamber chair, Painchaud is excited and focused on championing the various Chamber projects which positively impact and support the Calgary business Image Here community.

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Born and raised in a small Saskatchewan town, Painchaud is actively involved and plugged in to numerous Calgary organizations, community groups and causes, and he is an inspiring booster of (almost) all things Calgary! He has served on the Calgary Police Commission, on the board of Vertigo Theatre and other boards in the community and in the arts, been chair of the World Petroleum Congress Canadian Association and coaches youth in community ringette and soccer. Married 21 years to his gourmet cook spouse, Nadine Darcovich, father of two grown daughters, an insatiable gardener and fisherman (about two or three fishing trips a year to Saskatchewan, salmon offshore in B.C. and sturgeon fishing on the Fraser River), Painchaud is modest about being fairly techno-savvy but in awe of people who are expert and know their way around. “I have always been one of those people who knows – what I do not do.” With a shrug and a slight blush, he owns up to one Calgary treason: “I gotta admit: I bleed green! Yes, I still cheer for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.”

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Workplace Health and Wellness Generation-driven changes BY PARKER GRANT


ealth and wellness in the workplace is a very hot, trending topic, because it directly impacts two of the three most important workplace priorities,” says Calgary’s Jennifer Kirby, principal at Vital Partners, specializing in benefits planning for entrepreneurial to mid-sized companies. “According to various surveys and reports, the top three workplace issues are: salary, worklife balance and benefits.” ABOVE: JENNIFER KIRBY, PRINCIPAL AT VITAL PARTNERS.




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GEN-XERS GREW UP DURING A TIME WHEN HEALTH EVOLVED FROM BEING ABOUT CURING SICKNESS TO BEING MORE CONSCIOUS ABOUT PREVENTIVE CARE AND OVERALL WELLNESS. And then there are the overlapping, blurred lines between the quality of work-life balance and actual health and wellness benefits. Employers – large or small – are dealing with the contemporary reality that benefits are no longer a generalized template in the employee guideline database or the big, three-ringed HR binder. “Options have changed, especially in the past five years or so,” notes Chris McNelly, CEO of the Calgary-based Human Resources Institute of Alberta (HRIA), the third largest HR association in Canada, representing over 6,000 members. “Employee benefits are now customized. Employers have transitioned to individualized benefits, mostly depending on what best fits the employee’s lifestyle.” He points out that contemporary employee benefits are much more age-related than ever. What fits the 50-year-old staffer may not work for a 20-something employee, and vice versa. Tim Nickerson and Jennifer Barclay, two active and knowledgeable Calgary-based HR professionals and HRIA members, agree that health, wellness and other workplace benefits are definitely generational-driven. “People are looking for more flexibility,” Nickerson explains. “It goes back about 15 years but employees have shifted their priorities to having a balance. Everything from vacations, flextime to mobile gear and connectivity.” “It’s not the cookie-cutter types of plans employers used to offer,” Barclay says. “Contemporary employees want the ability to customize. Setting the salary is not enough. Employers must clearly spell out non-monetary benefits like vacation time and wellness spending plans. A personalized package, not one standard plan, can be a significant selling feature when companies are trying to recruit.” The HR scramble is to make benefits – from dental, prescriptions, glasses and paid vacations to fitness club memberships, naturopath visits, iPads, massages, golf and ski lift passes – relevant and appealing for all age groups: baby boomers (1946 to 1964) who have aged gracefully, generation X (1965 to 1981) and the workplace’s new trendsetters – the surging millennials (1982 to 2004). “It depends what age the company is trying to recruit,” Nickerson points out. “For a millennial, it’s the importance of extra vacation time, flextime or a $1,000 annual wellness



spending plan. For gen-Xers who may have growing families, dental and drugs plans are important. Benefit plans that cover dental, prescriptions and glasses may be a priority for boomers and some gen-Xers with young families, while millennials negotiate for flextime or more vacation days,” he says. “While late baby boomers and gen-Xers still continue to dominate the workplace, millennials are undisputedly driving the employee benefit bus.” Statistics Canada shows that millennials currently make up about 25 per cent of the workforce. By 2020, a majority of the boomers will have retired, and millennials will be 40 per cent of the workforce. And business forecasts suggest that employers that cater to the needs and wants of this potent generation will have a competitive edge. Unlike boomers, who are accustomed to running off to the doctor or taking their meds for a gamut of aches and pains, gen-Xers grew up during a time when health evolved from being about curing sickness to being more conscious about preventive care and overall wellness. Kirby points out that many Calgary-area companies offer employees a combination of health and wellness spending plans with defined amount limits that the employee can spend on Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) recognized and tax-exempt health services or a long list of certified (but usually not tax exempt) wellness options, from therapeutic massage, holistic medicine, dietary consultations and gym or golf memberships. Surprisingly, the concept of “wellness” versus traditional health care is still a bit of a vague concept for some employers. One of the biggest hurdles for HR pros is convincing management that organizational resources earmarked for “wellness” have documented return on investment (ROI). Stats show that company wellness benefits not only impact the lives of employees, they give a company a definite edge when it comes to recruitment, attracting and retention of especially gen-X and millennial employees. Despite health and wellness benefits positively affecting the bottom line, a survey of Calgary-area employers revealed that only 35 per cent of responding organizations say they offer wellness benefits. “The numbers show that the ROI of wellness programs is at least three dollars for every dollar

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spent,” Kirby points out. “They result in changed behaviours and ultimately translate out to cost savings. There’s no doubt that poor lifestyle choices (such as unhealthy eating habits, obesity and smoking) are having a detrimental impact on benefit costs. “Sometimes the challenge is still to explain and justify wellness budgets when outlining it for some executive teams,” she admits. “A recent Calgary trend is the economic downturn causing some health wellness program benefits to be reduced or cut. Maybe a 100 per cent dental is now 80 per cent or what used to be a $1,000 wellness spending account may now be $500 or cut altogether.” The HRIA’s Chris McNelly emphasizes the HR perspective, particularly in the Calgary workplace. “After salary, the key topics of new hire negotiations are about vacation, training and development allowances, and flextime. Especially the dynamics of gen-Xers and millennials have shifted the focus from the amount of time working to actual results. It’s not about working the eight hours, it’s about what is achieved. So if they are more productive at home, at midnight or at 6 a.m., flextime is no longer just a nice-to-have. It’s a serious issue and a standard recruitment request.” “There are some changes and shifting demand for certain benefits,” says Kenneth MacDonald, senior consultant in the Calgary office of Morneau Shepell, a benefits specialist firm. “There is definitely a trend for more flexibility in plans, particularly implementing things like health and wellness spending accounts. In Calgary, there is probably no company that gives fewer than 12 flex days. Two weeks’ vacation is probably very out of date. The minimum is three weeks with often an additional week as a likely haggling point.” HR professionals and benefit planners agree on a new fact of employee life: when it comes to the biggest up-and-coming segment of Calgary employees – gen-Xers and millennials – the subject of pensions hardly ever comes up. It’s usually a fading benefits issue, almost limited to boomers. “Let’s face it!” McNelly shrugs. “Today’s 25 or 30 year olds will change jobs and employers many times during their career,

and they simply won’t be there to collect. Vacations are a much more important issue for them than pensions. And some economists are concerned about the next generation’s attitude about long-term financial planning.” With the usually dynamic Calgary business market and bullish economy, Calgary has been a significant market for workplace benefits trending. It is the seventh year for the much-quoted reference that is now the 2015 Benefits and Pension Survey done for Gallagher Benefit Services (Canada) Group. “More than 18 per cent of survey respondents provide a full flexible benefits program, where employees are able to choose health and dental coverage levels. However, the most common means of offering employees choice and flexibility is by adding a health spending account (HSA) to a traditional program,” says the report. About 38 per cent of organizations (up from 25 per cent last year) plan a benefits change to include wellness, in addition to traditional health, like drug plan, dental and vision. “A quarter of respondents are planning to make changes to their benefits in the next 12 months. Sixty-nine per cent planning program changes are considering enhancements,” the report shows, “and 23 per cent are considering program reductions (mostly due to the energy sector downturn) which is up from 15 per cent in last year’s survey. “Increasing flexibility is the primary goal for 69 per cent of organizations indicating a change and the number of organizations contemplating revised drug plans has almost doubled to 57 per cent from 30 per cent in 2014.” As Calgary employers, HR professionals and benefit planners focus more and more on flexible options, allowing employees to choose company benefits à la carte or “cafeteria style,” as Tim Nickerson describes it – from flextime and drug plans to acupuncture and working by remote – today’s workplace is in transition when it comes to benefits, shifting focus from illness and cures to work-life balance and prevention. Progressive employers are now rethinking traditional benefits and looking for viable ways to develop a more engaged, healthy and productive workforce. ABOVE: KENNETH MACDONALD, SENIOR CONSULTANT IN THE CALGARY OFFICE OF MORNEAU SHEPELL.




Rejuve! Relax and Lose Weight at the Spa BY MELANIE DARBYSHIRE

For those Calgarians whose New Year’s resolution is to lose weight, get healthier or simply feel better – or for anybody desiring these things in general – Rejuve! Spa may be just what is needed. Offering a unique treatment that stimulates weight loss and detoxification, boosts metabolism and firms up the body – all without the patient having to lift a finger (or leg) – Rejuve! has been a favourite among clients for 11 years. Located in Kensington at 201, 320 10 Street NW, the Rejuve! process works by forming an artificial barrier to sweating and then forcing the body to perspire through it. Each appointment begins and ends with a weigh-in and measurements. Next is a 20-minute lymphatic drainage massage performed using in-house developed creams. The lymphatic massage helps promote cellulite reduction, detoxification and weight loss, while the creams create a “second skin” barrier. Next is a 45-minute cocoon-like infrared heated body wrap, which heats the entire body up to 55 degrees Celsius. This forces the body to sweat through the “second skin” barrier, thereby releasing toxins. According to the website (, in a single session you can slim down a size, lose up to five pounds and burn up to 4,000 calories. Owner Elanna Halisky (and silent co-owner Maurice Tadros) first came across the process in Montreal, but says it originated in France. Halisky is passionate about healthy living and preaches the benefits of perspiration. “The biggest thing is we’re just not sweating enough,” she explains. “And once you get rid of the toxins both internally and externally, your whole body functions the way it’s supposed to.”

She says the Rejuve! philosophy is to treat the body as a temple: “Our focus is on weight loss, detoxification, teaching others nutritional cleansing and the importance of sweating.” Rejuve! is for just about anyone and, in addition to the weight loss and detoxification benefits, is beneficial for those with arthritis, fibromyalgia and skin issues such as psoriasis and eczema. Halisky says it also works wonders for the immune system. “Because your lymphatic system is healthier, you don’t have poor circulation and blood flow, everything just functions properly,” she says. “All my regular clients swear by it for that.” “I have been coming to Rejuve! for approximately six months and am down 21 pounds and 37 inches,” says Sandra O’Reilly of Calgary. “I love that it helps me stay motivated and jump-starts my weight loss for the week. I have and will recommend Rejuve! to friends and family.” A single session is $119, and multi-session packs can be purchased at discounted rates. Add-ons to the process include a 30-minute sauna ($20) and a 20-minute reflexology foot massage ($30). Rejuve! also offers massage, lash extension, teeth whitening, reflexology, chakra balancing, cupping and scraping services. For nine years, they have been selling their Rejuve! line of all-natural, all-organic, made-inCalgary products including a firming body lotion, foot lotion, body wash and Epsom salts. Whether as part of a resolution or incorporated into an already healthy lifestyle, the Rejuve! process is definitely worth the try. Not only will you lose weight and detoxify, you’ll get to relax too.









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Alberta Independent Schools:

Serving Students, Parents and Communities


arents are naturally concerned about how well their children do at school and about the quality of education. Schooling is a highly formative experience and convincing parents of the value of a specific school may prove to be challenging among the wide range of options. This article explores independent (private) schools as one such option in Alberta’s diverse education landscape.


Independent School Enrolments In a 2014-15 provincial system of 676,332 students, 29,400 (approximately four per cent) attended independent (private) schools. Another 5,291 attended communitybased private ECS sites (kindergartens) where about 70 per cent of the students have special needs. Some international, First Nations and non-resident students are also educated in independent schools. As an aggregated group, the population of students is approximately five per cent of the education system as a whole. Most of the independent schools enrol less than 200 students per site with a handful teaching over 700 students. The Calgary area is home to approximately 40 independent school authorities.

Board Structures The most distinctive feature of independent schools, similar to charter schools, is that they are generally single-site operations under the supervision of a small board. Each independent school operates with a specific vision and mission that may vary according to the type of education programming. Boards may be elected or appointed and teachers are hired directly.




Since different governance models are practiced and most management is site-based, independent schools do not have large centralized offices so they tend to not get bogged down in bureaucracy. Decisions can be made more expeditiously and effectively. The schools acquire additional services as required by contracting and collaborating with other local agencies. There may be various support committees to assist in managing all the services and facilities. If a school is not responsive, and parents and students are not satisfied, it will likely fail as parents leave.

Teacher Qualifications Teachers in independent schools hold the same professional certificates as their public school counterparts. Teaching standards are subject to provincial regulation managed by Alberta Education’s Teacher Certification Branch. Teachers are evaluated externally by competent individuals appointed by the registrar in order to qualify for permanent professional teaching certificates and their teaching practice is governed by provincial legislation.

Accountability of Independent Schools All community-based private ECS (kindergarten) operators and all independent schools operate as not-for-profit agencies under the Societies’ Act of Alberta. They must report accordingly to Alberta Education using the same accountability pillars as do public schools but with additional requirements for monitoring, external reporting and teacher evaluation. Standards of accountability generally parallel public schools, which are available on the Alberta Education website. Government-collected data reveals that independent schools are safe and caring institutions that are responsive to parents, and do a good job of preparing students for life after high school.

Independent School Economics Considerations In keeping with the 1998 Private School Funding Task Force, Alberta independent schools receive part of the funding public authorities receive per student. Currently, private school funding is limited to a maximum of 70 per cent of the instructional and Plant Operations and Maintenance



(POM) funding envelopes provided to public authorities. Independent schools do not receive funding for a number of funding envelopes available to public authorities, including: class size reduction dollars, technology enhancement funding, transportation grants and capital (school building) funds. In addition, independent school teachers do not benefit from the $2.2 billion government provided to the Teachers’ Retirement Fund to cover pension plan shortfalls. Milke (2015) recently pointed out that independent schools have saved government some $750 million over the past five years. Milke uses a comparison that a student in the public system costs taxpayers $10,874 in comparison to $5,150 for a student in the private system. It could be argued that tuitions paid by independent school parents make more dollars available to public schools. Special needs students may qualify for additional grants. Some specialized schools, termed Designated Special Education Private Schools, may only admit students requiring specialized supports but their non-special education funding is like that of the other independent schools. No independent school receives funding for capital expenses so a modern facility with specialized theatres or playing fields is not built using taxpayer money. Independent schools charge tuitions in order to pay for the remaining costs of operating the school. Tuition fees will vary considerably depending on the kind of capital investments for buildings, teacher/student ratios, extracurricular program activities and other program enhancements.

Current Environment For more than 100 years, Alberta has been well served with a pluralistic system of education. In keeping with the province’s heritage and values, conscientious objectors, minority groups and people from multiple backgrounds have settled in the area without having to extinguish their foundational identities. One criticism of independent schools is that they do not allow everyone to attend. Public schools select students based on geographic location, specific program types and needs of the student, and sometimes gender. Not every student can enrol in any school. A universal education system that is genuinely inclusive must allow some parental choice so that parents can make positive choices for the sake of their child. In that sense, Alberta’s aggregated, pluralistic educational system is in


fact very inclusive, and independent schools play a key role in complementing the provincial system. Arguments opposing independent schools are nothing new. Opponents often fail to consider the significant contributions independent schools make to society and ignore the fact that the primary beneficiaries are children. At the end of the day, all students in both public and independent schools are provided a government-approved education through a curriculum that meets Alberta’s expectations. Independent schools are not a “private” matter; they provide a public function by delivering on educational outcomes through not-for-profit institutions that are

approved by and held accountable to the public interest. From the perspective of parents, primary concerns usually revolve around how well their child is doing. They want to know that their child is in good hands, and that the school has their best interest at heart. They need assurance that the situation at school is working. In a child’s 13 years of education, each day counts. For more information, visit the Association of Independent Schools and Colleges (AISCA) at AISCA represents approximately 90 per cent of Alberta’s publicly accredited independent schools as well as 65 per cent of the private Early Childhood Services programs.

Alberta Education Private Schools | Airdrie Koinonia Christian School Accredited / Eligible for Funding ECS, Grades 1 - 12 77 Gateway Drive NE Airdrie T4B 0J6 Phone: (403) 948-5100 • Fax: (403) 948-5563

Akiva Academy Accredited Nursery, Pre-Kindergarten, ECS, Grades 1 – 6, Grades 7- 8 140 Haddon Road SW, Calgary, AB T2V 2Y3 Phone: (403) 258-1312 • Fax: (403) 258-3812

Alberta Chung Wah School Accredited / Eligible for Funding Grades 10- 12 #270, 328 Centre Street SE, Calgary, AB T2G 4X8 Phone: (403) 271-8033 • Fax: (403) 288-8887

Aurora Learning Calgary Accredited / Eligible for Funding Grades 7 – 12 623 - 35th Avenue NE, Calgary, AB T2E 2L2 Phone: (403) 277-9535

Banbury Crossroads School

Calgary Academy Collegiate

Member of the Canadian Coalition for Self Directed Learning Accredited / Eligible for Funding J/K,ECS, Grades 1- 6, Grades 7- 9, Grades 10 – 12 B1 #201, 2451 Dieppe Avenue SW, Calgary, AB T3E 7K1 Phone: (403) 270-7787 • Fax: (403) 270-7486 Offers Home Education Program Offers Home Education Blended Program

Accredited / Eligible for Funding Grades 4 – 12 1677 - 93rd Street SW, Calgary, AB T3H 0R3 Phone: (403) 686-6444 • Fax: (403) 686-6588

Bearspaw Christian School Accredited / Eligible for Funding Jr. K, Sr. K, Grades 1 – 12 15001 - 69 Street NW, Calgary, AB T3R 1C5 Phone: (403) 295-2566 • Fax: (403) 275-8170

Bethel Christian Academy Accredited ECS, Grades 1 – 6, Grades 7- 9, Grades 10 – 12 2220 - 39 Avenue NE, Calgary, AB T2E 6P7 Phone: (403) 735-3335 • Fax: (403) 219-3059

Calgary Chinese Alliance School Accredited / Eligible for Funding Grades 1 – 12 150 Beddington Boulevard NE, Calgary, AB T3K 2E2 Phone: (403) 274-6923 • Fax: (403) 275-7799

Calgary Chinese Private School Accredited / Eligible for Funding K, Grades 1 – 6, Grades 7-9, Grades 10 - 12 128 2nd Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 0B9 Phone: (403) 264-2233 • Fax: (403) 263-3895

Calgary Chinese School Accredited Principal, Mr. David Chang; Vice Principal, Miss Claire Chang Grades 10 – 12 #110, 138 - 18 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 5P9 Phone: 403-461-9797 • Fax: (403) 228-5330


Calgary French & International School Accredited / Eligible for Funding Preschool, Jr. K, ECS, Grades 1- 6, Grades 7- 12 700 - 77 Street SW, Calgary, AB T3H 5R1 Phone: (403) 240-1500 • Fax: (403) 249-5899

Calgary Islamic Private School Akram Jomaa Campus Principal: Mr. Asad Choudhary Accredited / Eligible for Funding Grades K-12 2612 - 37 Avenue NE, Calgary, AB T1Y 5L2 Phone: (403) 248-2773 • Fax: (403) 569-6654

Calgary Islamic School Omar Bin Al-Khattab Campus Accredited / Eligible for Funding K, Grades 1- 6, Grades 7- 9 225 - 28 Street SE, Calgary, AB, T2A 5K4 Phone: 587-353-8900 • Fax: 587-353-8999

Calgary Jewish Academy Accredited / Eligible for Funding Nursery - Grade 9 6700 Kootenay Street SW, Calgary, AB T2V 1P7 Phone: (403) 253-3992 • Fax: (403) 255-0842




Calgary Quest School

Edison School

Khalsa School Calgary

Accredited / Eligible for Funding ECS, Grades 1- 6, Grades 7- 9, Grades 10 – 12 3405 Spruce Drive SW,. c/o Spruce Cliff Elementary Calgary, AB T3C 0A5 Phone: (403) 253-0003 • Fax: (403) 253-0025

Accredited / Eligible for Funding ECS, Grades 1- 6, Grades 7- 9, Grades 10 – 12 Site 11, P.O. Box 2, R.R. 2 Hwy 2A, 1KM North of Okotoks • Okotoks, AB T1S 1A2 Phone: (403) 938-7670 • Fax: (403) 938-7224

Educational Foundation Accredited / Eligible for Funding ECS, Grades 1- 6, Grades 7 - 9 RR6 Site 1 Box 2, Calgary, AB T2M 4L5 Phone: (403) 293-7712 • Fax: (403) 293-2245

Calgary Waldorf School

Equilibrium Senior High & ESL School

Accredited / Eligible for Funding Preschool, ECS, Grades 1- 6, Grades 7- 9 515 Cougar Ridge Drive SW, Calgary, AB T3H 5G9 Phone: (403) 287-1868 • Fax: (403) 287-3414

Chinook Winds Adventist Academy Accredited / Eligible for Funding ECS, Grades 1- 6, Grades 7- 9, Grades 10 – 12 10101 - 2nd Avenue SW, Calgary, AB T3B 5T2 Phone: (403) 286-5686 • Fax: (403) 247-1623

Clear Water Academy Accredited / Eligible for Funding JK, K, & Grades 1- 12 2521 Dieppe Avenue SW, Calgary, AB T3E 7J9 Phone: (403) 217-8448 • Fax: (403) 217-8043

Columbia College Accredited / Eligible for Funding Grades 10 – 12 802 Manning Road NE, Calgary, AB T2E 7N8 Phone: (403) 235-9300 • Fax: (403) 272-3805


Accredited / Eligible for Funding 707 - 14 Street NW, Calgary, AB T2N 2A4 Phone: (403) 283-1111 • Fax: (403) 270-7786

Foothills Academy

Calgary German Language School Society Accredited / Eligible for Funding Preschool, K, Grades 1 – 12, Adult Classes Bowcroft Elementary 3940 73rd Street NW, Calgary, AB T3B 2L9 Executive Director, Ines Schiemann

Accredited/Eligible for Funding For students with learning disabilities Grades 3 - 12 745 - 37 Street NW, Calgary, AB T2N 4T1 Phone: 403.270.9400 Fax: 403.270.9438 Email: Website:

Lycée Louis Pasteur

Greek Community School

Maria Montessori Education Centre of Calgary (MMEC)

Accredited / Eligible for Funding Grades 10 - 12 1 Tamarac Crescent SW, Calgary, AB T3C 3B7 Phone: (403) 246-4553 • Fax: (403) 246-8191

Calgary Italian School Accredited Language School Age 5 – Grade 12, Adults 416, 1st Ave NE Calgary AB T2E 0B4 Phone: (403) 264-6349

Delta West Academy

Janus Academy

Accredited / Eligible for Funding ECS, Grades 1- 6, Grades 7- 9, Grades 10 - 12 414 - 11A Street NE, Calgary, AB T2E 4P3 Phone: (403) 290-0767 • Fax: (403) 290-0768

Accredited / Eligible for Funding Grades 1 - 6 2223 Spiller Road SE, Calgary, AB T2G 4G9 Phone: (403) 262-3333 • Fax: (403) 693-2345

Eastside Christian Academy

Janus Junior High

Accredited / Eligible for Funding ECS, Grades 1- 6, Grades 7- 9, Grades 10 – 12 1320 Abbeydale Drive SE, Calgary, AB T2A 7L8 Phone: 403-569-1003 • Fax: (403) 569-7557 Offers Home Education Blended Program

High School Academy Accredited / Eligible for Funding Grades 7 - 12 8516 Athabasca Street SE, Calgary, AB T2H 1S1 Phone: (403) 262-3333 • Fax: (403) 693-2345


The International French School Maternelle (3-5 yrs old), Elementary (Gr. 1–5), Collège (Gr. 7–9), Lycée (Gr. 10-12) 4099 Garrison Blvd. SW, Calgary, AB T2T 6G2 Phone: (403) 243-5420 • Fax: (403) 287-2245 •

Accredited / Eligible for Funding Toddler, Preschool, ECS, Grades 1- 6 Building B4, #003 2452 Battleford Avenue SW, Calgary, AB T3E 7K9

Montessori School of Calgary Accredited / Eligible for Funding A.M.I accredited Preschool (3-6 yrs), Grades 1- 6 2201 Cliff Street SW, Calgary, AB T2S 2G4 Phone: (403) 229-1011 • Fax: (403) 229-4474

Mountain View Academy Accredited / Eligible for Funding ECS, Grades 1- 6, Grades 7- 9, Grades 10 – 12 3915 34 Street NE, Calgary, AB T1Y 6Z8 Phone: (403) 217-4346 • Fax: (403) 249-4312

New Heights School and Learning Services Accredited / Eligible for Funding D.S.E.P.S. | ECS, Preschool (2 ½ - 6 years), Grades 1– 12 4041 Breskens Drive SW, Calgary, AB T3E 7M1 Phone: (403) 240-1312 • Fax: (403) 769-0633

Phoenix Home Education Foundation Centre Accredited | Grades K-12 Bay 320 19 Street SE, Calgary, AB T2E 6J6 Phone: (403) 265-7701 • Fax: (403) 275-7715 Offers Home Education Program Offers Home Education Blended Program

Renfrew Educational Services - Child Development Centre Accredited / Eligible for Funding ECS for typical children and children with disabilities Door-to-door busing available 3820 – 24th Avenue NW, Calgary, AB T3E 6S5 Phone: (403) 291-5038 Fax: (403) 291-2499

Renfrew Educational Services - Park Place Centre Accredited | ECS for typical children and children with disabilities Elementary age program for children with disabilities Door-to-door busing available 5 locations across Calgary 2050-21ST NE, Calgary, AB T2E 6S5 Phone: (403) 291-5038 • Fax: (403) 291-2499

Renfrew Educational Services Assessment and Therapy Services For children, adolescents and adults Assessment, Counseling, Treatment and Consultation OT, PT, SLP, Psychology, Assistive Technology / Minimal wait time Extended hours / Offered at any Renfrew location in the city and in-homes

Renfrew Educational Services - Sundance Centre Accredited / Eligible for Funding Classes are multi-age with modified programming for children with disabilities. Grades 1-6. ECS is an inclusive play based program Door-to-door busing available 75 Sunpark Drive SE, Calgary, AB T2E 6S5 Phone: (403) 291-5038 ext 1601 Fax: 403 201 8212

Renfrew Educational Services - Bowness Centre Accredited / Eligible for Funding ECS for typical children and children with disabilities Door-to-door busing available 8620 48th Avenue NW, Calgary, AB T2E 6S5 Phone: (403) 291-5038 • Fax: (403) 291-2499


Renfrew Educational Services - Janice McTighe Centre

Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School

Accredited / Eligible for Funding ECS for typical children and children with disabilitiesand grades 1-6 for children with disabilities | Door-to-door busing available 2050 - 21 Street NE, Calgary, AB T2E 6S5 Phone: (403) 291-5038 • Fax: (403) 291-2499

Developing well-balanced students for a life of purpose by inspiring excellence in scholarship, leadership and character Offering both International Baccalaureate (IB) and Alberta Learning curriculum Alberta’s only Grades 1 - 12 full IB independent school • Scholarships and bursaries available 200-acre campus minutes from Calgary City-wide busing RR 2, Okotoks, AB T1S 1A2 Phone: 403-938-4431 •

River Valley School Accredited / Eligible for Funding 3 year old “Tots” – Grade 6 3127 Bowwood Drive NW, Calgary, AB T3B 2E7 Phone: (403) 246-2275 • Fax: (403) 686-7631

Rundle Academy Accredited / Eligible for Funding For students with learning disabilities Grades 4-12 4330 - 16 Street SW, Calgary, AB T2J 4H9 Phone: (403) 250-2965 • Fax: (403) 250-2914 Email for admissions:

Rundle College Primary School Accredited / Eligible for Funding • Kindergarten - Grade 3 2445 - 23 Avenue SW, Calgary, AB T2T 0W3 Phone: (403) 229-0386 • Fax: (403) 229-2669 Email for admission:

Rundle College Elementary School Accredited / Eligible for Funding • Grades 4 - 6 2634 - 12 Avenue NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1K6 Phone: (403) 282-8411 • Fax: (403) 282-4460 •

Rundle College Junior Senior High School Accredited / Eligible for Funding • Grades 7 - 12 7375 - 17 Avenue SW, Calgary, AB T3H 3W5 Phone: (403) 250-7180 • Fax: (403) 250-7184 •

Accredited / Eligible for Funding Grades 7- 9, Grades 10 - 12 7410 Blackfoot Trail SE, Calgary, AB T2H 1M5 Main: (403) 255-5300 • Fax: (403) 252-1434 Admissions: (403) 444-0023

Yufeng Chinese School Accredited / Eligible for Funding Grades 1- 6, Grades 7- 9, Grades 10 – 12 708 44 Avenue NW, Calgary, AB T2K 0J4 Phone: (403) 289-7876 • Fax: (403) 210-0261

Tanbridge Academy Accredited / Eligible for Funding • K - Grade 9 Box 4, Site 22, RR8, Calgary, AB T2J 2T9 Phone: (403) 259-3443 •

The Chinese Academy Accredited / Eligible for Funding Grades 10 – 12, Saturday classes from Kindergarten to Grade 12 6620 - 4 Street NW, Calgary, AB T2K 1C2 Phone: (403) 777-7663 • Fax: (403) 777-7669 “The largest heritage language school in Alberta with 1900+ students”

The Third Academy – North Campus Accredited / Eligible for Funding Grades 1- 6, Grades 7- 9, Grades 10 – 12 Bay 3, 510 – 77th Ave. SE Calgary, AB T2H 1C3 Phone: (403) 288-5335 • Fax: (403) 288-5804

The Third Academy – South Campus

Alternative Banff Hockey Academy

Heritage Christian Academy

Grades 7 – 12 • College bound hockey athletes Box 2242 Banff, Alberta T1L 1B9 Phone: 1-888-423-6369 • Fax: (403) 760-0868

Accredited / Eligible for Funding ECS, Grades 1- 12 2003 McKnight Boulevard, NE , Calgary, AB T2E 6L2 Phone: (403) 219-3201 • Fax: (403) 219-3210

Calgary Christian School

Master’s Academy

God’s Children Making the World a Better Place Preschool - Grade 12 Elementary Campus (Preschool - Grade 6): 2839 - 49th Street SW Secondary Campus (Grades 7-12): 5029 - 26 Avenue SW Calgary, Alberta Phone: (403) 242-2896 • Fax: (403) 242-0682

Accredited / Eligible for Funding ECS, Grades 1- 6 4414 Crowchild Trail SW, Calgary, AB T2T 5J4 Tel: (403) 242-7034 • Fax: (403) 242-3515

Calgary Girls School

Accredited / Eligible for Funding Grades 1- 6, Grades 7- 9, Grades 10 – 12 Box 4 Site 22 RR8, Calgary, AB T2J 2T9 Phone: (403) 201-6335 • Fax: 403-201-2036

Grades 4 - 9 6304 Larkspur Way SW, Calgary, AB T3E 5P7 Phone: (403) 220-0745

Tyndale Christian School

Edge School

Accredited / Eligible for Funding ECS, Grades 1- 6, Grades 7- 9, Grades 10 – 12 28 Hart Estates Blvd. NE, Calgary, AB T1X 0L3 Phone: (403) 590-5881 • Fax: (403) 590-6998

St. John Bosco Private School Accredited / Eligible for Funding ECS, Grades 1- 6, Grades 7- 8 712 Fortalice Cres SE, Calgary, AB T2A 2E1 Phone: (403) 248-3664 • Fax: (403) 273-8012

West Island College

Webber Academy Accredited / Eligible for Funding JK and Kindergarten, Grades 1 – 6, Grades 7- 9, Grades 10 – 12 1515 - 93 Street SW, Calgary, AB T3H 4A8 Phone: (403) 277-4700 • Fax: (403) 277-2770

Accredited / Eligible for Funding Grades K-12 33055 Township Road 250, Calgary, AB T3Z 1L4 Tel: (403) 246-6462 • Fax: (403) 217-8463

Master’s College Accredited / Eligible for Funding Grades 7- 12 4414 Crowchild Trail, SW Calgary, Calgary, AB T2T 5J4 Tel: (403) 242-7034 • Fax: (403) 242-4629

Menno Simons Christian School Accredited / Eligible for Funding ECS, Grades 1- 9 7000 Elkton Drive, SW, Calgary, AB T3H 4Y7 Tel: (403) 531-0745 • Fax: (403) 531-0747

Trinity Christian School Accredited / Eligible for Funding ECS, Grades 1- 6, Grades 7- 9 #100, 295 Midpark Way SE, Calgary, AB T2X 2A8 Phone: (403) 254-6682 • Fax: (403) 254-9843

Glenmore Christian Academy Accredited / Eligible for Funding ECS, Grades 1- 6, Grades 7- 9 16520 – 24 Street, SW, Calgary, AB T2Y 4W2 (403) 254-9050




Alberta’s only Grades 1 – 12 full IB independent school. What is different about Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School?


Preparing students to thrive in an uncertain world Dr. William Jones, Head of School, Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School Calgarians know all too well that we live in challenging times. Economic uncertainty, global conflict, environmental issues, a shifting political landscape and the implications of the steadily increasing role of technology in all sectors make it difficult to understand exactly what kind of world our youngest citizens will encounter and how best to prepare them. In addition, the field of education is itself trying to digest the burgeoning body of new knowledge that has resulted from recent research in fields such as neuropsychology. In this globally connected and rapidly changing world, how should we educate our children to ensure they are empowered to succeed and positioned to live happy, healthy and fulfilling lives? Any attempt to answer this question in a few lines would suggest arrogance and/or naivety. However, at Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School (STS), we believe, that by offering a challenging academic program, supplemented by rich and diverse co-curricular offerings, within the context of a welcoming and empowering school culture, we can prepare students to thrive – even in an uncertain world. Naturally, this requires a faculty of professionals who are highly skilled, personally engaging and passionate. We also believe that the quality of teaching is the most potent variable in the learning equation, which is why we invest so heavily in robust and ongoing professional development for our faculty. Recognizing that many of our alumni are working and conducting business around the world, we understand that they are best served by an education that broadens their global perspective and deepens their intercultural literacy. To that end, STS is the only independent school in Alberta to offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programmes in Grades 1 through 12. In addition,

we offer a Global Scholar Diploma, and provide opportunities for students to enhance their global understanding through participation in international service activities, Model United Nations, and many other experiences that allow students to interact with others in international settings. One key to success in business and other sectors is innovation. At Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School, we purposefully provide students with opportunities to develop innovative thinking. For example, the IB Middle Years Program includes a design course in which students develop an understanding of the design cycle and apply those concepts and different technologies to solving problems and creating anything from robots to buildings. Recently, a team of our Grade 7 students won first place at the International SchoolsNext Competition sponsored by the Association for Learning Environments in San Diego for their design of a school building for isolated communities in the Northwest Territories. They collaborated with students from Fort Providence, NWT, using telepresence technology in a pilot project sponsored by Cisco. They combined their understanding of the needs of that community with the knowledge acquired in their design course to develop the winning design. STS students have also earned multiple awards at the Wearable Art competition in Vancouver and the Haskayne Business Case Competition here in Calgary. All of these require critical thinking, innovation and creativity – areas in which our students shine. As we all look to an uncertain future I find I am filled with a great deal of hope. Being surrounded by the young, bright minds of future leaders in business, politics, innovation, community building – or whatever their chosen field may be – gives me much reassurance that we will be in good hands.

RUNDLE COLLEGE SOCIETY RUNDLE COLLEGE offers an enriched academic experience for students in Kindergarten - Grade 12


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RUNDLE ACADEMY offers a premier academic program for students in Grades 4-12 with learning disabilities

Small Class Size. Big Experience! RUNDLE OFFERS: Independent, coeducational day school Rigorous university preparatory program Small class sizes ranging from 6-15 students (depending on program)

Exceptional extracurricular activities Comprehensive athletic and arts programs International travel clubs and outdoor education options Extensive volunteer, citizenship and leadership programs

Experience Rundle


MR. JESSE BRAME TO THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS Mr. Brame was one of the rst students to attend Webber Academy as a Grade 1 student when the school opened in 1997. He graduated from Webber Academy in 2009 as valedictorian of his class. His post-secondary pursuits include attending the Richard Ivey School of Business at Western University in Ontario. He earned an Honours in Business Administration with Distinction. During his time at Western University, Mr. Brame collaborated with administration and professors at All Nations University College in Koforidua, Ghana to create an elective credit course designed to develop case-study learning and future futu African business leaders. For the past two years, Mr. Brame has been employed with Deloitte Consulting in Calgary, Alberta. He is working with Western Canadian organizations to develop their Supply Chain capabilities and identify opportunities for cost savings. Our community is proud to announce the appointment of our very rst alumni member to the Webber Academy Board of Directors.



Grades 7 to 12

Health Sciences Business & Engineering Institutes Advanced Placement Fine Arts Leadership International Studies 403.255.5300 7410 Blackfoot Trail S.E.

French Immersion & French and Spanish as a Second Language

A Leader in Learning Disabilities since 1979

Since 1979, Foothills Academy school has been a leader in Calgary for teaching students with Learning Disabilities in grades 3 - 12. Small classes led by a teacher and and a part-time assistant allow us to provide individualized programs to address the unique strengths and weaknesses of each student. In addition to academics, we also focus on the social and emotional needs of each student. Specialized support is offered through the extensive use of assistive technology and by our on-site team of psychologists and other specialized professionals. A wide-variety of extra-curricular activities are offered to supplement the academic curriculum. Our aim is to develop young people who are strong self-advocates with a high sense of self-worth, resilience and confidence ready to move into post-secondary and work worlds after graduation. Our bursary program is supported by all families and staff and ensures that we do not turn a family away due to financial circumstances. On-site Community Services programs such as tutoring, social skills programs and Camp Amicus are offered year-round to school families as well as the wider LD/ADHD community. Check our website for Open House dates.

A Leader in Learning Disabilities since 1979

745 37 Street NW, Calgary, AB T2N 4T1 403.270.9400

• • • • • • • •

Jr. Kindergarten to Grade 12 Forming Christian leaders Academic excellence Safe & caring environment Small class sizes Advanced placement Outdoor education Outstanding athletics program

Book a tour! 403-240-7924


elcome to a centre for learning where children are encouraged to reach and grow within an emotionally supportive community. Welcome to a school that pushes students academically but never forgets to nurture creativity, curiosity, social development, and physical well-being. We welcome you to join us as we celebrate achievement and imbue a lifelong passion for learning, exploration and self-improvement. At Edison, we place an emphasis on the attitudes of our students. Developing a positive attitude toward learning, teamwork, and setting and achieving personal goals is crucial. While each member of our faculty believes in our core values of academics, community and leadership, we are aware that the foundational development of positive attitude starts in the home. The Edison community works in partnership with the parents and caregivers of our students to provide support and guidance to each family. Our rigorous academic program is complimented by a global perspective that includes discussion and debate as well as off-campus excursions and community involvement. Elementary and middle

school students learn the Singapore Math Program in addition to provincial requirements. By graduation, most of our students have completed at least one Advanced Placement course, with many high school graduates entering university with nearly a full semester of university credit. Edison offers a beacon for those parents who wish, through a parent-school partnership, to foster the growth of caring, responsible, contributing members of the community who are happy, healthy and achieve their potential. Please visit our website at, or contact Beth Chernoff at 403-938-7670 ext. 200 for more information or to arrange an interview.

• Kindergarten to grade 12 • Student to teacher ratio of 12:1 • Uniforms • Busing available to Okotoks and south Calgary


The Be Brave Ranch by Ray LaBonte and Family offers children who have been sexually abused and their families a place to heal, and increases children’s chances of growing into healthy adults. Offering more than 200 hours of multiple therapies from art, music and play therapy to counseling and peer support, our program can, and will, help them laugh, play and be kids again. If your child has been sexually abused, please contact Little Warriors at

*The Be Brave Ranch is an evidence based program designed in collaboration with University of Alberta researchers and offers over 200 hours of treatment for the child and family.


Residential Calgary’s weak market continues BY MELANIE DARBYSHIRE


he arrival of a new year is often a time of change. A time of new beginnings in both personal and public life. Often, it is hoped, the new year brings better times. Often, it is realized, it does not. This is unfortunately likely the case for Calgary’s residential resale market in 2016 – a continuation of the weakened market of 2015. Though not the worst year on record, 2015 was a down year. “No question, when we look at 2015 it’s been a year where there’s been less demand,” explains Ann-Marie Lurie, chief economist at the Calgary Real Estate Board. “Overall weakness in the economy has placed downward pressure on housing demand. We’re looking at an over 20 per cent decline in sales activity [compared to 2014].” Lurie admits that 2014 is not the best comparable, since it was a fairly strong year. “But what I am noticing is that we’re down off of that 10-year average, and that’s really what I tend to look at: how are we relative to those longer terms. We’re still well below what we would be there.” Residential sales January through to the end of October 2015 were about 15 per cent below 10-year averages. While October’s new listings were down by almost eight per

cent to 2,680, inventory was up 20.14 per cent to 5,578. Months of supply had also increased 80.08 per cent to 3.93 months. “It’s really what’s been happening in supply that ultimately will drive what’s happening in price,” says Lurie. She adds that inventory has been rising. “Usually at this time of the year, near the end of the year, we start to see those inventory levels start to fall, and that hasn’t really been happening. So that’s causing some downward pressure on pricing,” Lurie says. For the month of October, the benchmark price was down 1.16 per cent to $453,100 on a year-over-year basis. Declining prices mean more sales occurring under list price, and Lurie confirms the sale price to list price ratio has been trending down. Tanya Eklund of the Tanya Eklund Group, RE/MAX Real Estate (Central), agrees. “We are seeing homes sell within 96.98 per cent of list price for the month of October 2015. So homes generally are selling under the list price.” By comparison, resale homes were selling within almost 98 per cent of list price in October 2014. ABOVE: APARTMENTS FOR SALE IN CALGARY’S INNER CITY. PHOTO COURTESY OF MELANIE DARBYSHIRE.




levels are causing prices to drop in Calgary. “By comparison, we’re seeing that pricing has accelerated in Vancouver and Toronto because of a shortage of inventory.” Klump acknowledges that Calgary is down from last year, but still above the low points in 2010. “By comparison, Vancouver sales are probably going to be the second highest on record [in 2015] and Greater Toronto is on track for an all-time record.”

Price declines vary by sector. For the month of October 2015, the detached benchmark price was down 0.66 per cent to $513,800, and the attached price was down 0.59 per cent to $354,100. The apartment price took the largest hit, down almost four per cent to $288,300. Lurie attributes the apartment decline to a couple of factors. “There’s a lot of multi-family construction that had commenced in previous years, and as that product is completed that just adds additional supply in the overall market. Plus we’ve seen rental vacancies increase.” In the detached market, the under $500,000 segment has remained relatively balanced, whereas the higher price ranges have seen some downward price adjustments. Perspective is important and Lurie emphasizes that although the market has cooled, it’s still above where it was following the financial crisis of 2008 to 2010. “Moving into this cycle, we didn’t have a lot of inventory,” she explains. “So even though our inventory levels have risen, and are higher than last year … those inventory levels still remain well below record high levels that we had before.” The average monthly inventory figure (to the end of October) for 2015 was around 5,370 units. In 2010, it was 6,593 units (19 per cent higher). The high was reached in 2008 of over 8,000 average units. In contrast, there were 4,100 units on average throughout the first 10 months of 2014 and 3,900 in 2013. Compared to other major Canadian centres, Calgary’s resale market is, on the whole, out of sync, says Gregory Klump, chief economist at the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). He concurs with Lurie that rising inventory

According to CREA, to the end of October 2015, Greater Toronto recorded 89,516 sales while Greater Vancouver recorded 36,569 sales. The Calgary region recorded 20,879 sales, 26 per cent less than during the same period in 2014, but higher than in the 2009 to 2011 period. During the same time, Toronto’s benchmark price was up 10.33 per cent year-over-year to $570,400, while Vancouver was up 15.33 per cent to $736,000. Klump says all markets hit their peaks and troughs at different times. “In terms of how far we’re off from the peak in Calgary, it’s a similar decline off the peak this year as in Montreal; it’s just that the peak occurred at different times.” Calgary’s benchmark price last peaked in November 2014 at $454,900, whereas Montreal’s last peaked in July 2015 at $304,500. As of October 2015, Montreal’s benchmark price was $302,800. Lurie doesn’t expect much improvement into 2016, since no real change is expected in the overall economy. “It’s expected to be weak,” she says. “We’re expecting to continue to see some downward pressure on pricing, because that demand scenario isn’t expected to change over the near term.” “The housing market for 2016 is looking to be a buyer’s market,” confirms Eklund. “Prices will most likely become more affordable. Buyers will have to be aware of interest rate hikes however, as this could affect their ability to purchase and what their monthly payment will be.” More of the same for Calgary’s residential resale market as 2016 begins. For buyers, it’s relatively good news as prices continue to fall. For sellers, depending on which segment of the market they’re in and when they got into it, the prognosis isn’t great. Then again, it’s better than a prediction that things are going to get much, much worse.






For Lease Calgary sublease rates are down 50 per cent



rom whichever vantage point you take, the soaring steel towers of Calgary’s ever-evolving downtown provide an impressive scene. Standing tall in the centre of the city, they are not only intrinsic to the skyline, they are integral to the vibrancy of Calgary. It is here where thousands work to propel the city, province and country forward. It is, as they say, where the magic happens. But in a year where the price of oil suffered major declines, so too did the second (after Toronto) largest office space market in Canada. In near-perfect synchronicity, as oil prices dropped, vacancy rates rose and rental rates went down. “Calgary’s downtown office space has seen continued declined from quarter to quarter in 2015,” explains Todd Throndson, managing director and principal at Avison Young Calgary. “Overall absorption in downtown Calgary in 2015 is at negative 1.8 million [square feet].” Starting at 9.1 per cent, the vacancy rate climbed steadily through 2015, ending the year at roughly 15.3 per cent. While typically quite volatile, between 2011 and 2014 the vacancy rate sat consistently below 10 per cent, hitting its lowest of roughly five per cent in 2012. According to Cresa Calgary’s Third Quarter 2015 Downtown and Beltline Office Market Report, today’s vacancy rate is the highest Calgary has seen since 2002, when oil prices were sub-$20 ($27 adjusted for inflation). Several large blocks of head lease space sit available, and



there is four million square feet of new development anticipated over the next three years, including Eau Claire Tower, Manulife Tower, Brookfield Place and Telus Sky. It is the sublease market, however, that has exploded – the result of substantial layoffs in the oil and gas industry. “The biggest issue for the downtown core has been the amount of sublet space that has been thrown back onto the market,” explains Greg Kwong, regional managing director at CBRE Limited. “In most years, of the 100 per cent of the space that is available, usually anywhere from 15 to 18 per cent of that space has been sublet space. In this market, it’s close to 48 per cent.” Going forward, Kwong expects it will be greater than 50 per cent. “I have never seen [that] before in my 29year career.” Notable blocks of available sublease space include 95,000 square feet at BP Centre and 59,000 square feet at Devon Tower. All classes have been affected, but classes B and C have fared the worst. “They’ve done worse either because their tenants went bankrupt or their tenants moved up to a better building,” explains Kwong. “If you’re going to pay $20 net [rent per square foot] why not jump up to an A-class building as opposed to a B-class building.” According to CBRE, as of November 2015, vacancies per class were: class AA - 7.6 per cent, class A - 14.3 per cent, class B - 20.9 per cent, class C - 20.3 per cent and class D - 10 per cent. Average head lease rates have declined by


approximately 20 per cent from last year and currently are (per square foot): class AA - $44, class A - $25.50, class B - $16.50 and class C - $19.75. Rate sheets do exist, but aren’t written in stone. “They publish them, but they don’t follow them,” explains Kwong. “They go: ‘Listen, just bring us a deal and let’s work something out.’” Sublease rates have declined by over 50 per cent in the last year, according to Cresa’s report. For example, the average class-A sublease rate was $29 in 2014; today it is $11. For building owners, the lack of tenant growth is concerning. Loy Sullivan, vice president, Downtown Calgary at 20 VIC Management Inc., says that interest from prospective tenants has evaporated. “You just don’t see a lot of activity in the market,” he says, “and what activity you do see, those tenants are typically gravitating towards the sublease opportunities.” 20 VIC’s management portfolio includes Eighth Avenue Place and TD Canada Trust Tower, among others. Compared to other major Canadian cities, Calgary’s downtown office market pales. Toronto’s overall vacancy sits at 9.8 per cent and has remained relatively unchanged from quarter to quarter. While Vancouver has seen an increase in overall vacancy to 9.8 per cent (a 3.4 per cent increase from 2014), this was the result of new office development totalling 1.4 million square feet. In Calgary, declining lease rates could, in theory, trigger a reduction in the city’s property tax intake. This is because office buildings are generally valued based on their rental income; as income drops, so too do values. Simple logic then provides that the taxes payable on those properties will also decline. TOP LEFT: TODD THRONDSON, MANAGING DIRECTOR AND PRINCIPAL AT AVISON YOUNG CALGARY. BOTTOM LEFT: GREG KWONG, REGIONAL MANAGING DIRECTOR AT CBRE LIMITED.

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Building Name


Office Area (sf)

Asking Rate

Additional Rent

Bankers Hall East

855 - 2nd Street SW




Bankers Hall West

888 - 3rd Street SW




Calgary City Centre

215 - 2nd Avenue SW




Centennial Place East

520 - 3rd Avenue SW




Centennial Place West

250 - 5th Street SW




Devon Tower

400 - 3rd Avenue SW




Jamieson Place

308 - 4th Avenue SW




Livingston Place South

222 - 3rd Avenue SW




Livingston Place West

230 - 3rd Avenue SW




TD Canada Trust Tower

421 - 7th Avenue SW





This is concerning, since downtown Calgary accounts for approximately 30 per cent of the city’s total tax base. Evan Woolley, councillor for Ward 8 (which encompasses the downtown), confirms the city expects average assessed values for downtown office buildings to be 13 to 15 per cent lower than last year. This does not mean, however, that the city’s tax intake will decrease by the same amount. “Our assessment system is a distribution mechanism where the property tax burden is distributed among all properties in a class based on their proportion of market value within that class,” explains Woolley. “For non-residential properties there is a singular tax rate. If one type of property experiences a change in market value, greater or less than the change in value of other non-residential property values, there will be a redistribution of the overall property tax within the non-residential properties.” In effect, Woolley explains, the overall tax intake from the entire non-residential property class by and large will remain unaffected. As each class of property (and each individual property) will vary, the distribution of the tax intake from within that property class will vary. Nonetheless, Woolley admits the city expects some shortfall and is prepared to deal with it. “We are run in a very fiscally responsible way,” he says. “We don’t run operating deficits. We do have reserve funds. We have a fund that’s called the



Fiscal Stability Reserve that we use when times are tight. We’ve also found $50 million in savings in this year alone. We are doing a ton of belt tightening.” Building owners are generally well positioned to ride out the downturn. Unlike 30 years ago when most of the downtown was owned by smaller companies or individuals, today most buildings are owned by a major insurance company, REIT or corporation. “I don’t think we’ll see a lot of fire sales in the downtown core as far as office space goes which is a good thing,” Kwong says. Looking ahead to the rest of 2016, Throndson predicts a vacancy rate anywhere between 14.4 and 15.9 per cent, with absorption between negative 250,000 square feet and 600,000 square feet. Kwong predicts a higher vacancy rate of 17.14 per cent with 300,000 square feet in absorption. Sullivan isn’t overly optimistic. “Even if the Alberta economy improves in 2016, I don’t think we’ll receive any benefit from it until later on.” He says that office buildings generally have longer recovery periods than the industries they service. It is not the first downturn Calgary’s city centre office market has experienced, and it won’t be the last. If history repeats itself – as it usually does – recovery will inevitably occur. The skyline will continue to evolve as newer, taller towers sprout up. And the view will only get better.



Turnaround Expert crystal ball guesswork BY JOHN HARDY


f course public opinions matter. With or without biases, professional opinions matter. Almost as much as facts, situations and reality.

After 16 months of media gloom and doom, warnings, projections, worry and occasionally some refreshing positivity, Business in Calgary felt that it was time to invite a panel of distinguished oil and gas experts to hunker down and try some blunt, honest and no-holds-barred gazing into the 2016 crystal ball. •J ohn Dielwart is founder, director and former CEO of ARC Resources and now vice-chairman of ARC Financial Corp., Canada’s leading energy-focused private equity manager with over $4 billion of capital under management. •S cott Saxberg is CEO of Crescent Point Energy, one of Canada’s largest light and medium oil producers, with assets across Western Canada and the United States. • Lorne Bozinoff is president of Forum Research, publisher of an insightful 2015 poll about Canadian public opinions and oil and gas industry trending. •D r. Bob Schulz is professor of strategic management and academic director, petroleum land management, at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business.

•H endrik Brakel is senior director, economic, financial and tax policy, at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. There is a lot of Alberta business, resident and industry guesswork, speculation and anxious, wishful thinking about a turnaround – in the price per barrel of oil and its impact on life and business in Calgary. Brakel tracks the facts. “The fall in oil prices pushed the Canadian economy into recession in the first half of 2015 and probably lowered Canada’s GDP growth by one per cent this year. Consider that 24 per cent of Canada’s exports are oil and gas related. With prices falling by half, that works out to a 12 per cent hit to Canada’s exports. Alberta is hugely affected by the oil price slump, with growth falling from 4.4 per cent in 2014 to -1.2 per cent in 2015. Because of a mild recovery in oil prices, we expect Alberta growth to return to a modest 0.7 per cent rise next year.” “The turnaround timing will be determined for the most part by the world oil markets,” Bozinoff suggests. “World oil markets will in turn be driven by world economic conditions (expected to be fairly flat), U.S. economic conditions (solid growth), the political situation in oil producing countries (continued instability) and the willingness of overseas oil producers to keep prices low. This will ultimately be the





key – how long will overseas oil producers be willing to keep oil prices low? By mid-2016, overseas oil producers may consider very modest price increases.” Saxberg is cautiously optimistic. “As we get further into 2016, we will get a better understanding of the supplydemand balance, and production declines in the U.S. will be more evident and likely move prices upward. There’s an excellent chance of a significant movement – a $10 to $20 lift versus a slower movement – but we will still be in the low $60 range through to the end of 2016, unless OPEC or U.S. production continues to decline.” Dielwart’s perspective is from tremendous industry expertise and cautious reality about big changes. “The industry has always had cycles and prices have always been volatile. This time it’s different. The days of just needing a higher price are gone. We will see $100 per barrel again but controlling costs, cost structure and cost efficiency will be paramount. “Producers will no longer be able to hide behind simply high prices. When the turnaround happens, some companies will do well, while others who don’t have an efficient cost structure will not. The whole industry will look a lot different when this settles out. There will be a drastically new normal.” Schulz is plugged in to industry trends. “Turnaround may be at least 18 months away, maybe longer. Both oil and gas prices now depend heavily on North American and global demand and supply, as well as the risks of global supply disruptions. Well production decline curves are typically about 15 per cent per year and global demand is rising at about two per cent a year. So, a fast price turnaround likely means that the risk of supply disruption has increased, probably due to geopolitical conflict in one or more of Venezuela, Nigeria, Irag, Iran, Russia or Saudi Arabia. “In the past, it would take about two years for drilling and production to gear up after a period of reduced prices and decreased drilling. Today, production can gear up in 30 to 60 days for fracking, as the pipes are already in the ground.” “We are forecasting that oil should return to $55 a barrel near the end of 2016,” Brakel predicts. “The hope is that a stronger U.S. economy, and Europe’s return to growth, will help emerging markets in 2016. Hopefully, a stronger global economy will boost demand for oil so that it catches up with supply, and oil inventories will start to decline.” Despite Barack Obama’s November kibosh of the Keystone wish and pipe dream, expert reaction and guessing about



2016 for Keystone, Northern Gateway and getting western oil to market varies. “The Obama rejection of Keystone is a temporary setback,” Bozinoff suggests. “Should the Republicans win the White House this year, Keystone will be a go without further delay. If Hillary Clinton wins the White House, then Keystone will be reconsidered. Currently, it’s 50-50 odds on which party will win the White House. But Northern Gateway’s future is entirely in Canadian hands, largely based on Canadian public opinion. And public opinion is divided.” Scott Saxberg urges that Canada use the nudge from the American president. “I think it can be a wake-up call for Canada to create other markets and develop options to move crude oil to markets that offer the best price. This is very important for Canada and its independence. The current loss of revenue and jobs to Canada is significant. There needs to be a national strategy in place to protect Canada and its markets.” “I disagree with the American logic,” Deilwart snaps. “I would rather have oil flowing underground in safe, modern pipelines than running through towns on railcars. We can manage without Keystone. Rejecting Keystone will not shut down what Americans call ‘dirty oil.’ The only way is to stop using it. And that’s not likely to happen for several generations. It is a consumption problem, not a production problem. One way or another, we must get our product to tidewater – export using oil tankers. It is a Canadian imperative!” Schulz also isn’t convinced. “The next U.S. president will redecide Keystone in January 2017. In the meantime, Gateway was always eight years away from shovels in the ground and moving pipeline oil to the West Coast. Enbridge has already redeployed its capital from Gateway to purchase gas-fired power plants and alternative energy. Instead, rail terminals in Edmonton will soon be moving an additional 800,000 barrels per day, mostly to the West Coast.” “A return to robust, healthy growth throughout the global economy would push oil prices back to the $60 range, but not much above,” Brakel says. “Fracking operations can easily be capped on a temporary basis: there were 574 oil rigs operating last week compared with 1,578 this time last year. But they can also be brought back online very quickly. This means that the moment oil prices return to $60-$65 range, those wells become profitable and they will return to production. Prices can only rise so much before a surge of supply pushes the market back down.”


What will the turnaround do for Alberta, and especially Calgary? “Companies today overall are more prepared and more resilient than ever. The western provincial economies have continued to improve and are more diverse since the ’90s,” Saxberg points out. “Every new downturn creates further strength to the economy of the western provinces. Look at how well Saskatchewan has weathered this current storm versus past downturns.”

In various industry-expert ways, John Dielwart is enthusiastic. “I’m positive that good things are ahead for the industry and for Calgary. It will be different and not across the board as before. But the Calgary economy will bounce back. Many executives agree that cost structures got out of hand. We must be competitive on the world market and stay lean, longer.”

Calgary Down Under Alberta talent and expertise is making it happen “A big advantage of doing business in Australia is that, despite low commodity prices, there is still a sizable market to sell oil and gas products and services into.” It’s the positivity of dynamic and respected energy industry booster Wade Elofson, founder of Powered Energy and Resources Community, the popular Australian-based new energy company made up of selected partner companies that deliver products, services and technologies for Australia’s growing oil and gas industry, particularly the country’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) boom. According to many industry analysts, while heavy oil continues to get prominent exposure and world attention, in a stealth but steady way, LNG continues to grow into a major player in the energy sector, particularly due to the surging demand for LNG in huge markets in Asia (Japan, China and South Korea). “Perhaps Australia has been overlooked in Alberta because, so far, we focus almost entirely on natural gas which we export as LNG. Even though oil prices are down all over the world, Australia has built more than $200 billion USD worth of LNG terminals in the past five years,” Elofson points out. According to an EY report, the global demand for LNG is predicted to nearly double by 2030. Due to the astronomical costs of building facilities, LNG projects are usually the result of negotiations between oil and gas suppliers operating in resource-rich countries with sparse populations (such as Australia) and large purchasers in densely populated, relatively resource-poor countries (such as Japan). While Qatar is currently the world’s largest LNG exporter and Malaysia is number two, there is such a high volume of activity in Australia that industry projections suggest “the land down under” is poised to overtake Qatar as the world’s biggest exporter.

“The next wave of production in Australia will be shale gas,” Elofson predicts. “It will be interesting to see what drilling techniques will be utilized. Powered works with various partners, supplying skills, expertise and site services as part of the Australia boom, and professionally and personally, Elofson is gung-ho about Alberta skills and innovation. “Powered works with service companies from around the world,” he says. “But of all our partner companies, Canadians are absolutely my favourite. Alberta oilfield service companies like DFI Piles and Equinox Engineering (the private, Calgary-based company which provides high-quality EPCM services, including facility and pipeline projects for natural gas, conventional oil and heavy oil markets) are succeeding in Australia. There’s Australian consensus that Alberta-based companies offer a level of expertise and value that cannot be matched by any other part of the world. “Today’s low energy prices are forcing producers to look to mid and smaller niche companies that can help drive down costs,” Elofson explains. “We are seeing more and more mid-size and smaller service companies do really well over here.” Particularly services related to drilling, completions and production. Any service company that cost effectively drills holes, keeps production levels up and offers a competitive advantage are in high demand in Australia. “Many Alberta companies that can capitalize on their experience can dominate in this market,” Wade Elofson says, with his extensive industry experience and proud Alberta bias.





Manufacturing BY DAN COOPER

Gets No Respect


conic comedian Rodney Dangerfield built a legendary persona and a successful career out of getting no respect.

on the country’s economy is shrinking. Ten years ago, in 2005, manufacturing made up 14 per cent of Canada’s GDP. In that period, 585,000 manufacturing jobs disappeared – a combination of falling output and solid labour productivity gains.

Despite the 21 different Canadian industry groups that produce goods for both industrial and consumer use, adding up to nearly 11 per cent of the Canada’s entire gross domestic product (GDP) and employing more than 1.8 million people, Canada’s manufacturing sector suffers from the same problem as Dangerfield.

“The manufacturing landscape has also changed. The key Canadian industries include machinery and equipment, motor vehicles and parts, petroleum and coal products, and wood/forestry and aerospace products. Especially in the past five years or so, we have seen significant drops in manufacturing of clothing and textiles, paper, printing and, especially this year, petroleum products.

Manufacturing gets no respect! It has been bashed around quite a bit. It has survived various broadsides; especially since 2008, manufacturing in Canada (and specifically in the Calgary market) has confronted increased global competition, the boosting positives and pricey negatives of a sagging Canadian dollar, shifting demographics, labour shortages in the workforce, stiff and stifling regulatory demands, ongoing market volatility and other challenges. “Manufacturing made up 10.6 per cent of Canada’s GDP in 2014 and the industry sector is holding steady. But there’s no way of avoiding the facts and numbers and trending,” explains Robin Wiebe, senior economist at the Conference Board of Canada. “It’s probably not unique to Canada, but manufacturing’s impact

“The situation is not without positives,” he adds. “Some big gains have been seen in primary metal manufacturing, fabricated metal manufacturing and machinery manufacturing. The 2009 recession was tough on Canada’s manufacturing sector. It contracted over 13 per cent that year, following three smaller annual declines. All told, Canada’s manufacturing sector was nearly 11 per cent smaller in 2014 than it was in 2005,” Wiebe tracks the numbers. He also notes that China continues to have a major impact on Canada’s manufacturing trends. Globally, the emergence of China as a major manufacturing sector has increased





Some analysts and experts in the Canadian manufacturing sector caution that the average Canadian manufacturer has one big customer—the U.S., making it hopelessly tied to fluctuations in the American economy. They look ahead with guarded optimism that even if the U.S. economy is on the rebound, it is going to be relatively slow compared with emerging economies like Asia and Latin America.

the competition that manufacturers must deal with. Also, the Canadian dollar’s relatively high value – earlier this decade – increased the foreign cost of our manufactured products and crimped foreign demand. The dollar’s current weakness should help manufacturers sell more products abroad.” The Conference Board senior economist explains that, until last year, rising energy costs prompted many North American companies to onshore aspects of their manufacturing operations, moving them closer to home and to their key customers. “It made Canada’s proximity to the large U.S. market important. This advantage could re-emerge when energy costs rebound.” According to the knowledgeable Mike Holden, the Calgarybased director of policy and economics with Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) – Canada’s largest trade and industry association and the voice of manufacturing and global business in Canada – Canada’s “customers” and the U.S. dollar are key issues that impact the immediate future of Canadian – and Albertan – manufacturing. “Let’s face it,” he says, “no matter what, the U.S. economy is still, by far, the largest economy in the world and is the most important factor, globally and for Canadian manufacturing and exports. The U.S. is overwhelmingly Canada’s number one customer and spends more than $252 billion USD. China is a major global economy and a big Canadian customer, but a distant second compared to the U.S. China spends about $11 billion. Japan and the U.K. are third and fourth, spending about $5 billion each.” He underscores the double-edged sword in the manufacturing and export equation about the high U.S. dollar and the weak loonie. Canadian products and exports, especially to the U.S., may be seen as a bargain and generate a 30-cent premium, but many Canadian manufacturers pay a premium when they must buy materials and components from the U.S.

Some leaders in the industry have been sounding alarms for more than five years about the challenge of finding skilled workers for a manufacturing sector that is more and more specialized. They warn of shortages of qualified Canadian mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, mechatronics engineers and toolmakers. Closer to home, manufacturing is often overshadowed by primarily oil and gas and several other businesses, and it doesn’t usually get much Calgary attention, certainly nowhere near the decibel level of the energy sector. But, despite the limited attention (and respect), Calgary’s manufacturing sector is well positioned and healthy. “Compared to other major North American cities, Calgary’s manufacturing companies have competitive costs in key areas, such as research and development, industrial land and taxes,” says the gung-ho Jeanette Sutherland, manager of business and trade development for Calgary Economic Development. “We have the most competitive provincial corporate tax jurisdiction in Canada, and our residential property taxes are among the lowest of any major Canadian city. Alberta has no inventory tax, no machinery and equipment tax, and no payroll tax which is also very attractive to companies interested in relocating to Calgary. “Manufacturing is very important to Calgary’s economy and continued growth. In 2014, there were 1,850 businesses in manufacturing in the Calgary Economic Region. It includes machinery manufacturing, chemicals, computer and electronic products, furniture, food, fabricated metal products and more. Last year, 61,860 people were employed in Calgary’s manufacturing sector,” she points out. “Since 2010, we’ve seen an 18.5 per cent GDP growth in the Calgary manufacturing sector, and it’s forecasted that there will be over 13 per cent growth over the next four years. True to the entrepreneurial spirit of the city, Calgary manufacturers have made substantial investments in the most current technology, and they are more modern and efficient than many of their competitors.”





Calgary Manufacturing | One of Calgary’s best kept secrets Plains Fabrication and Supply For various reasons, the manufacturing sector in Canada gets too little attention and awareness, and although Calgary-based manufacturing is strong and steady, when it comes to attention and awareness, it gets even less. “The manufacturing sector is extremely valuable to the whole country but, as we all know, the cyclical nature of oil and gas most directly affects Alberta businesses and residents,” says the focused and experienced Calgary manufacturing executive Stephen Mackisoc, COO of Plains Fabrication and Supply, one of Western Canada’s largest custom steel manufacturers. “In Canada, and especially here in Calgary, we have a very strong reputation for quality in manufacturing. We need to believe in ourselves and, somewhat uncharacteristically, stand up for ourselves and sell the fact that we are the best. “Plains employs more than 100 professionals and skilled tradespeople in a new 90,000-square-foot Calgary facility, featuring state-of-the-art technologies,” he explains. “Unlike many manufacturing companies, Plains actually has no products. “Our biggest markets remain oil and gas and mining but, thanks to our experience, we have created solutions in other markets as well. We are a single source for world-class custom design and fabrication of structural and pressure equipment, and we handle almost any size project and meet any specification our clients desire.” Since a large portion of the Plains business is directly involved in the oil industry, Mackisoc’s tremendous expertise combines with tough-love savvy about the future of manufacturing, particularly in the energy sector. “We agree with some of the leaders of our oil companies. This may not be a slump as much as a new reality, in terms of the price of oil. The industry has had a flawed business model that did not set up manufacturing for long-term success. But there is renewed focus and a strong commitment in the oil business to deliver projects at costs that will contribute to the long-term health of the industry. “We must work together to reduce the costs to produce a barrel of bitumen and ensure projects in Alberta can

be globally competitive. Alberta is number three behind Venezuela and then Saudi Arabia as the nation with the third largest reserves in the world. We are an energy powerhouse – and need to act like one,” he says with positivity.

Blackline Safety “Having been directly involved in Calgary manufacturing my whole career, I’m openly positive and a big believer in the manufacturing sector, here in Calgary and in Canada,” raves Kevin Meyers, COO of Calgary-based Blackline Safety, one of the world’s leading suppliers of wirelessly connected worker safety monitoring products. “You can be competitive, you can control your costs and, in my opinion, you can deliver a much superior quality product than you can by trying to control manufacturing overseas. Having manufacturing in-house allows you to better control the quality and supply chain as well as being able to react more quickly when and if something goes sideways.” As Meyers explains, the Blackline products are designed by the in-house hardware and firmware engineers who ensure that the products are easy to assemble and program. “The final product will not pass without ensuring it works 100 per cent of the time,” he says with pride. “We have always been an innovative company. We react quickly to our customers’ needs and give them the product they desire.” Despite Meyers being dynamic and bullish about manufacturing in Canada, and particularly in Calgary, he voices concerns that all is not perfect and manufacturing faces a few urgent challenges. “The low Canadian dollar is an issue. Approximately 75 per cent of our costs are in USD, so having to purchase the materials has impacted our margins – but there is some balance, because we have a strong market in the U.S. and sell our products for U.S. funds. “But there are serious challenges to find skilled labour for manufacturing jobs, whether it’s manufacturing engineers or production floor workers. Blackline has been pretty fortunate to find the staff when we’ve needed it, but there is no abundance of skilled labour in electronic manufacturing. It just takes some additional recruiting time.”



Bon Ton Meat Market


he new Bon Ton is far more than a premium meat market with delicious homemade pies and fresh-cut meats. The Calgary landmark has moved its operations to Crowfoot Crossing Shopping Centre, offering a large showroom with a fullservice deli while still maintaining its traditional emphasis on personalized and knowledgeable service. While the 7,000-square-foot location may look vastly different from the original Bon Ton that opened its doors on 7th Avenue and Centre Street in 1921, the premise behind the business has never swayed. Bon Ton Meat Market remains an old-fashioned and truly unique business with a deep and rich history, but it has evolved with the times offering clients all the latest products from gluten-free options to more exotic products including pheasant and elk. Today, Bon Ton remains a quality and service-driven company where every client is individually served by one employee from the beginning of their shopping experience until the end. All clients receive undivided attention to ensure their every need is met in the manner to which they expect, deserve and have become accustomed to – as is demonstrated with Bon Ton successfully receiving the Consumer Choice Award for 13 years in a row.

Bon Ton Meat Market

To maintain their clients’ complete and unconditional satisfaction, two basic fundamentals form the basis of the Bon Ton business. Firstly, it starts with buying the best products possible from the highest grades of AAA Alberta beef and free-range poultry to grain-fed lamb, milk-fed veal and fresh Alberta pork. Complementing the selection of high-end meat products is 24 types of deli salads, a delicious selection of homemade prepared hot and frozen foods, cheeses and mouth-watering desserts. Secondly, Bon Ton’s staff possess the knowledge, experience and skills necessary to properly prepare all the different cuts of meats. The meat cutters at Bon Ton share over 250 years of experience, allowing them to handle any request while guaranteeing satisfaction. “We have a tradition for the highest quality,” says Bon Ton Meat Market owner Greg Keller. “Good just isn’t good enough. It has to be great!” The future for Bon Ton includes continuing to evolve with the everchanging buying trends of the public, while remaining committed to the finest quality products and exceptional service. In addition, Bon Ton strives to be a good corporate citizen by giving back to the community and supporting a number of charitable causes.

Hand-crafted excellence.

Bon Ton is proud to be your Consumer Choice Award winner for 15 years in a row 15-time winner

Finest Q uality p roducts Old Fash and ioned p ersona lized service , guara nteed.


Our friendly experienced staff are always around to help make sure any customer will be a returning customer.

Prestige would like to thank you, our customers, for more than 25 successful years in business. We look forward to working with you over the next 25 years!

403.282.3132 | 28 Crowfoot Circle NW

2777 Hopewell Place NE Calgary (403) 250-1020 • Toll Free: 1-800-382-8502


Leading Business JANUARY 2016

IN THIS ISSUE... • Policy Bites: Stimulating Growth for Calgary’s Businesses • Chamber Member Spotlights



2016 Board of


Executive Chair: Denis PainChaud, Director of International Government Relations, Nexen Inc.

Stimulating Growth for Calgary’s Businesses Justin Smith, Director of Government Relations and Policy, Calgary Chamber

Past Chair: Rob Hawley, Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP Vice Chair: David Allen, Founder & President, Situated Co. CEO: Adam Legge, President and CEO, Calgary Chamber

Directors Bill Brunton, Communications Executive and Counsel Carlos Alvarez, Audit Partner, KPMG Lorenzo DeCicco, Vice-President, TELUS Business Solutions Wellington Holbrook, Executive Vice-President, ATB Financial Phil Roberts, Director of BD & Marketing, Vintri Technologies Linda Shea, Senior Vice-President, AltaLink Mike Williams, Executive Vice-President, Corporate Services, Encana James Boettcher, Chief Idea Officer, Fiasco Gelato Brent Cooper, Partner, McLeod Law LLP Desirée Bombenon, President & CEO, SureCall Contact Centres Ltd. Management Adam Legge – President and CEO

Over the last year, Calgary’s landscape, both economic and political, has changed dramatically. A collapse in energy prices, tighter budgets, thousands of layoffs, uncertainty in real estate prices, the introduction of a new provincial government and new prime minister all posed some serious challenges and uncertainty for Calgary’s business community. Going into 2016, this landscape brings with it a new set of provincial and federal policies and priorities. As the most influential business organization in the city, the Chamber works to cut red tape, helps businesses navigate the ins and outs of government policies and procedures, and makes connections with key decision-makers. Think of us as your government relations strategy, either in whole or in part.

Michael Andriescu – Director of Finance and Administration Kim Koss – Vice President, Business Development Scott Crockatt – Director of Marketing and Communications Rebecca Wood – Director of Member Services Justin Smith – Director of Policy, Research and Government Relations Leading Business magazine is a co-publication of the Calgary Chamber and Business in Calgary Calgary Chamber 600, 237 8th Avenue S.E. Calgary, Alberta T2G 5C3 Phone: (403) 750-0400 Fax: (403) 266-3413

As we continue to feel the effects of the economic downturn, we are focused on finding ways to stimulate growth for Calgary’s businesses, and ensure we remain a competitive jurisdiction. As we continue to feel the effects of the economic downturn, we are focused on finding ways to stimulate growth for Calgary’s businesses, and ensure we remain a competitive jurisdiction. I and my colleagues at the Chamber work behind the scenes for you at all levels of government, advocating for the issues important to your business, so that you can focus on doing what you do best, running and growing your business. Here are some of the areas we are focused on this year:

1. Investing in our growth by choosing the right infrastructure projects Our infrastructure system is a critical asset that drives growth, jobs, safety, mobility, trade, investment and enhanced competitiveness. The trade and commerce that our members engage in on a daily basis is fundamentally tied to the reliability of our infrastructure system. We have to make sure that we successfully target those infrastructure assets that will maximize Calgary’s economic productivity and deliver the most value for our economy. These projects would include



“Should have called DRIVING FORCE”

Because moving is a big enough job already!

2332–23 Street NE, Calgary

TF: 1•877•756•8349 3660–50 Avenue SE, Calgary TF: 1•877•753•8765

Stimulating Growth for Calgary’s Businesses (continued)

transportation infrastructure in our urban municipalities to improve commercial mobility, water infrastructure to support our growing communities and improved public transit for our workforce. We may need to invest in advance at times to achieve growth, but the risk needs to be calculated and it must deliver long-term value. When making decisions that have a huge impact on the future of our city, such as the one we have with our growing infrastructure issue, the Chamber believes that Calgary residents should be at the heart of the discussion. To ensure that Calgarians have a voice, the Chamber developed the Citizens’ Commission, a democratic process that creates a civic space which transforms citizens into citizen experts. In August 2015, 36 Calgarians were randomly selected to participate in a series of workshops led by an independent advisory council made up of some of the top municipal leaders from around the world. Members of the commission heard different perspectives concerning Calgary’s infrastructure needs and the revenue tools that could be used to pay for them. Members of the commission have identified their priorities and developed a series of recommendations for government. This recommendation report will be available shortly on

The Calgary Chamber has been in discussions with the provincial government for months and will continue to advocate for the implementation of the Alberta Growth Incentive, a robust and effective policy that will jump-start small business investment in the province, through the creation of a small business investor tax credit. Alberta is fortunate to have a strong pool of capital and a large ecosystem of innovative businesses, and a tax credit is a hands-off approach that puts the onus on investors to make the final decision on risk and efficiency, but incentivizes them to keep their money within Alberta and put it toward highgrowth businesses.

3. Remaining a competitive jurisdiction to do business One of the Chamber’s highest priorities is ensuring that Alberta’s current competitive position on the tax front is maintained. Low personal and corporate tax rates, along with strong, responsible fiscal policy from the government, help support the conditions in which businesses can grow and succeed. Competition for new business investment is fierce, and having a competitive tax system can help our province continue to attract top-notch talent and the capital investment we need to sustain our growth.

2. Early-stage capital investment for small business As a small business owner, growth is the single most important part of business development. Especially in challenging economic times, access to the capital needed to grow and stay competitive is crucial to small and mediumsized businesses. Inaccessibility to capital throughout a business’ life cycle – especially in the early stage – is a major impediment to the growth and sustainability of Alberta’s small businesses. Currently, many small businesses lack the resources and administrative capacity to raise capital, and rely heavily on equity investments made by angel investors and venture capital firms.



Are you a thought leader? Love public policy? Want to make our city and province a better place? Then the Calgary Chamber’s policy committees might be for you. Our committees help to identify issues that are important to Calgary’s business community, and act as advisers who work with our policy and government affairs team to create policy positions, which we work with various levels of government to implement. Visit for more information.

Chamber Member Spotlights The Calgary Chamber is proud to represent many Calgary businesses large and small; this month we are highlighting some of our industry leading members.

AltaLink AltaLink’s transmission system efficiently delivers electricity to 85 per cent of Albertans. The company is responsible for the maintenance and operation of approximately 12,500 kilometres of transmission lines and 300 substations in Alberta. Their more than 800 employees are committed to maintaining top-quality and reliable electrical transmission service for Albertans while providing innovative technical and financial solutions to enable Alberta’s growing electricity market. For more information, please visit

Long View IT Consulting Long View is one of the most powerful IT solutions and services companies in North America with offices across the continent. Innovative, flexible, cost-effective and business focused, Long View provides clients with some of the best IT people anywhere. Their senior technical experts are skilled in key areas like virtualization, storage, managed IT/outsourcing, networking, collaboration, cloud, user support and data centre. Long View offers project-based technology and end-to-end operational outsourcing solutions to a wide variety of industries. For more information, visit

International Fitness Holdings Inc.

Servus Credit Union

International Fitness Holdings Inc. operates World Health, Spa Lady and Bankers Hall Club. With 14 health clubs in Calgary and Edmonton, they have been inspiring Albertans to live a healthy and active lifestyle for over 30 years. They are passionate professionals leading the health and fitness industry with excellence, helping to enrich people’s lives by inspiring a healthy and active lifestyle.

Servus Credit Union is a member-owned community-based financial institution dating back to 1938. Today, Servus is Alberta’s largest credit union and Canada’s first provincewide credit union, looking out for nearly 390,000 members from over 100 locations across Alberta. Utilizing their core values of member service, integrity, teamwork and fairness, Servus Credit Union continues to grow and prosper within the province.

For more information, visit

For more information, visit



Chamber Member Spotlights



TransCanada Corp With more than 65 years of experience, TransCanada is a leader in the responsible development and reliable operation of North American energy infrastructure including natural gas and liquids pipelines, power generation and gas storage facilities. TransCanada operates a network of natural gas pipelines that extends more than 68,000 kilometres (42,000 miles), tapping into virtually all major gas supply basins in North America. TransCanada is one of the continent’s largest providers of gas storage and related services with 368 billion cubic feet of storage capacity. A growing independent power producer, TransCanada owns or has interests in over 10,900 megawatts of power generation in Canada and the United States. For more information, visit

Fairmont Palliser Fairmont Palliser, the 101-year-old historical landmark set in the heart of the downtown core, celebrates 50 years of membership with the Calgary Chamber this month. For over a century, the hotel has offered distinctive accommodation and provided exceptional service in elegant surroundings. Each of the 407 guest rooms are newly renovated, luxuriously decorated and are equipped with the latest business amenities. Fairmont Palliser brings dedicated expertise to conferences, meetings and banquets. Their event planners offer an expert’s knowledge in planning events of unparalleled success. Neat fact: Just over a century ago, Charles W. Rowley was the first guest at what would become one of Calgary’s most iconic hotels. The banker and former president of the Calgary Board of Trade – now the Calgary Chamber of Commerce – checked in at the Fairmont Palliser on its opening day, June 1, 1914. For more information, visit



The Chamber thanks the following long-standing member companies celebrating anniversaries this month for their years of support to the Calgary Chamber, and their commitment to the growth and development of Calgary. Member name

Years as a member

Fairmont Palliser


Gibson Energy Ltd.


Graymont Western Canada Inc.


Mercer (Canada) Limited


IHS Global Canada Limited


Innovate Calgary


Genstar Development Company


Kuehne & Nagel Ltd.


Newalta Corporation


Glencoe Resources Ltd.


Harvard Energy


Immigrant Services Calgary


Mapeland Homes Ltd.


Merit Contractors Association


Gardner Data Systems


GKD Industries Ltd.


Guardian Telecom Inc.


Ledcor Construction Limited


Guardian Advisory Group


Mr. Rooter of Calgary


Net Safety Monitoring Inc.


Ewan Nicholson Photography Inc.


Global Public Affairs


Haskayne and Partners


Leger Marketing


Maxim Power Corp.


MMR Canada Limited


GSI Estate & Financial Planning


imagiNation 150




Lee Hecht Harrison Knightsbridge Human Capital Solutions


LMKR Canada Inc.


McMillan-McGee Corp.


Casabella Lifestyle Offers the

Complete Package By Rennay Craats


ver the past decades, Calgary’s sprawling suburbs have become filled with cookie-cutter houses that homebuyers have had to adapt to in order to fit into. For Paul Jirjis, that wasn’t good enough. He and his company Casabella Homes built residential properties throughout the 2000s but there were rumblings in the industry and Jirjis had the good judgment to listen. He sensed a change, a growth in Calgary in the late 2000s and decided to be part of that change. Rather than doing the expected in construction, Jirjis set out to break the cookie cutter and get down to what customers really wanted. That led to the birth of Casabella Lifestyle in 2012. “It’s a bit of a twist,” he says. “We’re not just building a home and selling it. We’re accommodating our client’s needs and making it completely ready for them – a turnkey operation.”

Top: The Milano project Above right: (L-R) Dan, Paul and Arend finalizing plans on one of the projects.

Casabella Lifestyle redefines what it means to be turnkey. The company found that previously, clients would visit a show home and love the feel of it, but when their own model was completed they were often left slightly underwhelmed. “A lot of people enjoy buying the show home because it is completely furnished and they could see themselves living there,” says Arend Lucardie, Casabella Lifestyle’s marketing director. Casabella Lifestyle set out to bring that feeling back to clients, allowing them to move into their own show home that reflected their personality Casabella Homes | 10 Years | 1


This page: The Milano project

and tastes. Casabella Lifestyle offers a complete package in which homeowners work with an interior designer to select everything from cabinetry and appliances to furnishings, and on possession day they step into their fully furnished brand-new home. This package deal has proven incredibly attractive to many customers, including transfers from other cities who want to minimize the hassle and disruption associated with a big move. Casabella Lifestyle allows clients to walk into a professionally decorated space, making the new house a home the second they turn the key. They have even taken it a step further by giving some extra attention to an often-neglected space: the garage. In Casabella Lifestyle homes, the garage is treated as another room, and can even be turned into a ‘mancave’ with a developed second floor complete with a bar. The builder also has a luxury vehicle waiting in the garage for the new homeowners as part of the package they are purchasing.

Casabella has taken the custom homebuilding experience to a new level, striving to provide clients with exactly what they have always dreamed of. “We take the time to get to know the family and build a home that is tailored for the family today and many years to come,” says Lucardie. “Our expertise rests in custom homebuilding, but we’re always pushing the envelope to deliver what our clients are really looking for – a complete lifestyle package.” The experience for clients is amazing, and the Casabella team invests countless hours with the homebuyers to ensure they get it right. They spend two to three months meeting with clients to get to know them and help them through the process. They assist with choosing the essentials for not only construction but the essentials for living after the building is done. The process is customization at its best. In essence, it’s the team’s job to find out who the clients are, what they need, what they want and what doesn’t work in

Casabella Homes | 10 Years | 2

This page: The Siena project

their existing home and then to create a personalized plan that fits the clients’ lifestyle and budget. “And we draw everything in 3D to let them imagine how this is going to look before we proceed,” says Jirjis. At every turn, the team is available to answer questions and to explain what is going on behind the

Congratulations to Casabella on 10 Years!

scenes so there are no surprises. The only surprise is how open and approachable all of the Casabella team is at every step of the way. Communication is key to the corporate philosophy. Good communication is the best way to ensure clients get the most from their experience and walk away happy. Casabella’s client philosophy is intentionally

Congratulations to Casabella on 10 great years!

403.835.4944 • Renovations • New Home Constructions • Commercial • Lighting • Trouble-shooting Aluminum Wire Reconditioning • Re-Wire (knob and tube) • Audio • Communications

Looking forward to another decade of success together!


Congratulations to Casabella on your 10th Anniversary! Proud to celebrate with you on this milestone, and wishing you many more years of success. Casabella Homes | 10 Years | 3

Casabella’s client philosophy: Listen carefully to the clients, understand their needs and provide them with extraordinary solutions. simple but unmistakably bold: Listen carefully to the clients, understand their needs and provide them with extraordinary solutions. “Our growth is based on our clients’ satisfaction,” says Jirjis, and that satisfaction comes from the team always striving to not just meet expectations, but to exceed them. In fact, if Jirjis and Lucardie aren’t totally happy with the finished product and wouldn’t be thrilled to move in to it themselves, they won’t hand it over to the client. At times, that has meant changing or redoing a part of the house at the expense of the bottom line, but there’s no other choice. “We do the right thing. No cutting corners. When we run into a challenge we get it fixed and not worry about the profit margin. Do it, and do it right,” says Jirjis. This attitude has earned Casabella Lifestyle a solid reputation in the industry – not to mention many repeat customers and referrals. Many clients become friends and return to the designers over the years for help choosing new pieces for their home. Other customers have seen Casabella’s work and ask them to renovate their current home. Others are happy with the bones but want to update their home’s decor with the help of the talented design team. And some are just looking for a convenient, hassle-free way to purchase a new luxury vehicle. Casabella’s four divisions – renovations, new homebuilding, interior design and luxury vehicles – are available to clients and the company is happy to tackle a project using any and all of them. Whether clients are starting from scratch with a new home or renovating or redesigning an existing one, Casabella Lifestyle is proud to be part of such an important investment. While their business cards say they are homebuilders, they are really in the business of making dreams come true, four walls at a time. •

Luxury Homes

Luxury Renos

888 231 9990

Luxury Design Casabella Homes | 10 Years | 4

Luxury Vehicles

THE CALGARY CONNECTION CENTRE At the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre (CTCC), we’re in the business of welcoming the world to Calgary. It’s more than a matter of tourism and civic pride. It’s also a powerful and effective way to showcase the city’s intellectual capital and to introduce visitors to the benefits of working, living and investing in our city. Every major city and region around the world has its own distinct intellectual capital—a unique combination of its residents’ expertise and experience that shapes the local economy and personality. With the knowledge economy on our doorstep, business and public sectors here and around the world are seeking specialized knowledge, information and high skill levels. Recognizing this, we’re working to see that the people who come to Calgary for meetings and conventions leave with connections. “Connections formed at the CTCC in downtown Calgary are immediate and often outlast the events themselves––by years,” says Marcia Lyons, general manager. For example, she says, in 2000 the World Petroleum Congress (the first event held after the CTCC expanded) connected an entire Canadian industry to its counterparts around the world, making it part of a global community. Calgary’s people (the bedrock of intellectual capital) have a number of highly desirable characteristics: they’re young, well educated and driven. “Calgary has a 100-year history of being entrepreneurial—of having a can-do spirit,” says Peter Garrett, the president of Innovate Calgary. “The words ‘can’t be done’ don’t exist in Calgary. As a result, when researchers, entrepreneurs and investors approach new market opportunities, they come at it with a spirit of success.” That spirit is exactly what many of today’s international companies, organizations and businesses are looking for. “People represent opportunities,” says Jim Gray, chair of the Energy Group of Brookfield Asset Management Inc. “People don’t come here and look at an oilfield. . . .They look for relationships. They look for people.” By linking Calgarians and visitors through congresses, conventions, meetings and events, Lyons says the CTCC “will leverage economic activities that go beyond the tourism and hospitality sector and we’ll become Calgary’s connection centre.” BUSINESSINCALGARY.COM // BUSINESS IN CALGARY // JANUARY 2016


Economic Strategy for Calgary BY COURT ELLINGSON


ne year ago, council approved the update to the 10-year Economic Strategy for Calgary. Over two years, 400 leaders in the community were engaged to share where we have been, our successes, our challenges and to establish a clear vision for the economic development of Calgary. The result was Building on our energy, a holistic strategy that considers the integrated nature of the economy, the critical role of collaboration and the need to diversify. Building on our energy is structured around three broad goals: shared prosperity, strong communities and sustainable development through purposeful diversification. The strategy places a spotlight on innovation and entrepreneurship, and emphasizes the need for people and community in building a strong economy. In updating the Economic Strategy for Calgary it became clear there was a need for collaboration and leadership to accomplish these goals. In order to achieve this, Calgary Economic Development assembled lead stakeholders to serve on a leadership and implementation team. Leadership team members include: • City of Calgary: general managers and the mayor’s office • All of Calgary’s seven post-secondary institutions • Innovate Calgary, Tourism Calgary, Calgary Arts Development and Calgary TELUS Convention Centre • Representatives from provincial and federal ministries • Calgary Chamber, Calgary Municipal Land Corporation and Calgary Airport Authority • Vibrant Communities Calgary and Momentum The Economic Strategy is a living document that adapts to changes in the economy and our community. The leadership team members are responsible for reaching out to the broader community in engaging the private sector and civic society to implement individual actions in the strategy. They are also responsible for highlighting challenges raised, opportunities to be realized and any shifts that might be required to the strategy. In the past year, the implementation team has activated 70 per cent of the strategy with nine per cent of tactics already complete, albeit with ongoing activities. In addition, new actions and tactics have been added to reflect opportunities in agribusiness and better represent the activities being undertaken by the Calgary Poverty Reduction Initiative.



Several successes have already been recorded by leadership team members. Calgary Economic Development is the steward of the Economic Strategy and leads 12 of the actions, co-leading another four. In 2015: • Calgary Economic Development hosted 21 inbound trade missions. • Calgary achieved foreign-trade zone status and began marketing the region as an inland port. • Innovate Calgary, working with Calgary Economic Development, launched Kinetica, an energy technology accelerator, and AlbertaIN, a collaboration of 75 service providers establishing a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs seeking startup support. They also introduced the Alberta Venture Mentoring Service that has already matched 12 startup companies with mentoring companies. • The City of Calgary launched the Fair Entry program – a singlestep process in applying for subsidies for all city programs. • The City of Calgary launched a new planning process that includes an exploratory phase for developers to discuss projects before applying for a development permit. • The Calgary Regional Partnership and the City of Calgary have collaborated to initiate an industrial land-mapping project in the region. • Calgary Arts Development developed SpaceFinder, an online arts space booking tool. • Vibrant Communities Calgary has brought together a leadership implementation council to support the implementation plan for Enough for All. • Tourism Calgary unveiled a three-year strategy to boost tourism in the Calgary region. As we all know, 2015 was a challenging year for Calgary. Data suggests that the economic slowdown is affecting not only employment, incomes and Calgarians’ ability to earn a living, but may also be affecting their perception of the quality of life in Calgary. Calgary Economic Development and the strategy’s leadership team will continue to implement and adjust the strategy’s actions to affect positive change in the community and economy. Change is not easy, nor is it quick, but with commitment and collaboration we will be successful.

Tourism Calgary Releases Bold 2016-18 Strategic Plan BY CASSANDRA MCAULEY


ourism Calgary’s new three-year plan is a result of research-based insights, evaluation of previous results and a strategic focus on the needs and wants of travellers to our city. The multi-year plan signals the beginning of exciting new initiatives, a shift in areas of focus, disruption in the way business has traditionally been conducted and an evolution in how the end user is served both by the destination marketing organization and the destination as a whole.

Highlights of what’s new: • Re-imagination and implementation of a strategic inmarket visitor engagement plan; • Ongoing content creation and dissemination; • Adoption of an open-source mentality with content and assets; • Identification and development of new market opportunities; • Focus on attracting and activating cultural tourism opportunities, and taking advantage of new and differentiating products for Calgary;

• Creation of a destination strategy to ensure a competitive advantage for Calgary in the years to come. As an organization, Tourism Calgary has built on its strong foundation of delivering award-winning marketing campaigns and attracting and hosting world-class events to become a proactive partner, a nimble problem solver, a trusted brand steward and a strategic adviser. Meanwhile, the organization is making great strides toward its aspirations of being a leader in stakeholder engagement, visitor servicing, content development and distribution, and destination management and development. The success of this strategy will be measured by important and tangible key performance indicators, in addition to the sentiments of key stakeholders, Tourism Calgary’s engagement in the industry and its ability to influence the development of Calgary as a tourism destination. Please see: strategic-plan to read Tourism Calgary’s comprehensive 2016-18 strategic plan.



At Your Service:

AlbertaIN a new directory tool for innovators BY CARMEN LOVO


lberta has a thriving ecosystem of service providers supporting the advancement of Alberta-based technology and innovation startups. Whether looking to move an idea forward, or reviewing which exit strategy is right for your business, understanding the providers that are available to you and knowing the right time to leverage their services can put your enterprise on track for success. AlbertaIN* was developed by Alberta’s innovation community to provide a highly visual directory, aggregating the vast ecosystem of service providers that support the advancement of innovation enterprises. AlbertaIN enables entrepreneurs and SMEs to accurately and efficiently identify the most suitable service providers based on their stage of growth and individual needs. “This community-driven, community-owned directory provides a 50,000-foot view of Alberta’s innovation ecosystem of service providers,” says Tara Barnas, director, marketing and communications, Innovate Calgary. “The technology and innovation sector share the goal of increasing innovation enterprise in Alberta. The innovation ecosystem of AlbertaIN supports this by guiding the entrepreneur to the right provider while allowing service providers to concierge entrepreneurs appropriately along the path towards business development, growth and maturation.”



Users can quickly locate providers that offer programs that facilitate success, such as services, funding support, coworking space, advice and mentoring. Users can refine their search by selecting filters such as phase of development, services needed and the industry in which they operate – ensuring that those who are using the directory are seeing the most relevant service providers. AlbertaIN can also toggle between a tile view and a map view of service providers – useful for entrepreneurs searching for providers in a specific area. The AlbertaIN community consists of more than 70 participating providers supporting the growth of Alberta’s innovation enterprises. Initiatives like AlbertaIN show collaboration between members of the province’s innovation ecosystem. These collaborative efforts ensure entrepreneurs and enterprises are able to leverage the necessary resources and support services. To learn more about AlbertaIN and how it can support innovators in navigating Alberta’s vast innovation ecosystem, visit *AlbertaIN does not list administrative service providers in the areas of accounting, legal, bookkeeping, marketing, human resources and taxation.


Marketing Matters BY DAVID PARKER


ohn Larsen joined the office of Edelman Calgary hoping to use his expertise on a much larger stage. In his new role as executive vice president and national practice lead, crisis and risk (don’t you just love titles?), he has certainly been able to do just that. Larsen has been involved in his profession for a number of years, perhaps best known as president and owner of Corpen Group which was Canada’s largest independent crisis communications agency until he sold it. Prior to joining Edelman he was president of Zero Hour Strategy. He holds a formal designation through the Institute of Corporate Directors, the international designation of accredited business communicator, a master’s degree in communications and has completed the Harvard University executive education program. I got to know Larsen well through his time working with the military during the Iraq war. He is a graduate of the Canadian Forces Command and Staff College and holds formal United Nations status as an international permanent observatory expert on major event security. He knows a lot about crisis management. At Edelman, he is involved in issues for its other Canadian offices in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver, and is also a member of its global crisis response team.

Lindsay Hamilton oversaw marketing and strategic initiatives nationally for McCarthy Tetrault for 10 years before leaving to consult on her own for other major law firms, professional service firms, corporations and a number of CEOs.



She is now working in a newly created role with Borden Ladner Gervais (BLG), responsible for marketing in each of its five Canadian offices in the role of national director, marketing and communications. Based in the Calgary office, she reports to BLG’s new COO, Rob Morris in Toronto, who has formed a new team to transform how the firm delivers legal services to its clients. Impressed with BLG’s clear business strategy, Hamilton is also respectful of its community-minded and philanthropic values. She has been on the board of directors of Kids Cancer Care Foundation Alberta for several years; is involved in numerous Calgary Health Trust committees and initiatives, most recently with ENCORE in support of the McCaig Institute; and is busy again with the Great Italian Wine Encounter that brings 15 of Italy’s top winemakers to Calgary every two years.

With the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre for the past three years as manager of marketing and communications, Carolyn Watson has had the responsibility of media relations added to her workload. She says that despite living in an age of instant communications, businesses and organizations know the value of face-to-face meetings and the convention centre is looking for a strong 2016.

Parker’s Pick Karo’s video to encourage donations to the Calgary Drop-In and Rehab Centre.

New School of Community Studies and Creative Technologies Bow Valley College has helped Alberta grow for 50 years by working with industry to anticipate needs, then filling those needs with work-ready graduates. Our new School of Community Studies and Creative Technologies will help Alberta diversify to meet the challenges of the future, fuelling the growth of creative industries in our province. Visit for more.