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Food, energy, health and wellness identified as key to Alberta's future

In short, those are the areas that could lead to a more prosperous future for the province's 4.4 million people.

The Business Council of Alberta has put together what it calls Define the Decade: Building Alberta's Future, a 72-page report that identifies several steps, or "missions," that could lead to greater prosperity.

The plan identifies the province's strengths: energy and resource development, agriculture and agri-food and medical advancements. It urges Albertans to work together to solve the world's challenges around energy and food security and wellness.

The council says it consulted with thousands of Albertans from all walks of life before it put the plan together.

"It's about a vision for Alberta by Albertans," said Adam Legge, the president of the council.

"It's about the economic development plan of how we get there over the next 10 years," he said.

Legge says the plan is different because it doesn't focus entirely on one specific sector of the economy.

"We've, in fact, framed it around prosperity missions, what are those grand humanity, global challenges, that really intersect with Alberta's strengths and our advantages and our assets," he said.

One of the world's pressing challenges is to reduce carbon emissions. The strategy suggests Alberta strives to become a global leader in carbon capture, utilization and storage, perhaps a leading global supplier of net zero oil and gas and the world's largest producer and exporter of hydrogen. 

"The goals of the report are pretty much consistent with Shell's goals," said Susannah Pierce, Shell Canada president and country chair.

Pierce is a member of the report's executive task force.

"So over the next 10 years, I think you can see Shell consistent with what the report suggests, investing in low carbon solutions such as hydrogen, such as carbon capture sequestration. We are already very much involved in that in the province," she said.

Pierce noted the company could potentially export hydrogen as well. 

"We hope to rally people, inspire people by the challenges that Albertans are going to solve, versus saying we're going to pick this sector, that sector. And that's what we think is different, unique," said Legge.

The report recommends a significant push in agriculture and agri-food production, suggesting expanding the use of new technologies, innovations and farming practices to improve food quality, quantity, sustainability and product diversity.

The third "mission," recommends Alberta become a leader in helping people live healthier lives. It suggests greater investment in health and medical care advancements. More challenging suggestions include cutting obesity rates by 20 per cent over the next decade, reducing diabetes rates among Indigenous people and establishing the lowest health-care wait times in Canada.


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