Calgary City Council bolsters investment fund to attract ‘catalytic’ corporate investment

Calgary City Council bolsters investment fund to attract ‘catalytic’ corporate investment

Dec 19, 2017


City Council increased the Economic Development Investment Fund (EDIF) to $100 million to enhance the effectiveness of this vital tool. The EDIF will be used to attract and retain companies, and support “catalytic” investments in the Calgary economy.

The EDIF will support the overall efforts by Calgary Economic Development to market our city’s talented workforce, business advantages and quality of life, to spur economic growth, investment attraction and retention of businesses and jobs.

The economy is a top priority for Calgarians and the challenges brought by an evolving energy sector require bold thinking. The EDIF will support strategic investments that act as a catalyst that spur growth, employment and increases to municipal taxes.

Municipal governments in most large cities in Canada and the United States use similar reserve funds as a fiscal tool.

At its session Monday, Council added $90 million to the $10 million approved when it created the EDIF in June. Work on the governance to oversee use of the funds is underway and will be presented to City Council in the first quarter of 2018.

No proposals will be processed until the governance protocols are in place.

There is intense competition among jurisdictions worldwide to attract investment and job creation. Calgary is recognized as being among the most frugal when working with companies to facilitate their locating investments here.

“To some degree, every city in North America faces similar challenges to those we face. The competition for brains, vision and capital is fierce,” wrote Jim Gray, a member of the Canadian Business Hall of Fame and the Chair of the EDIF Steering Committee, in an op-ed for the Calgary Herald. “We must have both the intellectual and fiscal tools to compete with other cities that have dedicated the resources necessary to be a serious player in attracting investment while retaining our own industries and major employers.”

Increasingly, major corporate investments are partnerships and, at times, the municipality must be able to bring something to the table that will close deals to bring significant benefits to Calgary.

Projects that could potentially be supported under the EDIF can be located anywhere in the city and may include targeted infrastructure, strategic relocation of industrial land, investments in technology, job training, brownfield redevelopment, innovation clusters/zones and optimization of vacant space.

The EDIF is not intended to be used to support the financial viability of a private company. No loans to businesses are permitted under the program and funds can not be used for tax relief, loans, marketing or public relations.

The goals for EDIF are to support 3,600 new jobs, $238 million in leveraged funds, $300 million in GDP and $300 million in potential incremental investment.

Calgary Economic Development will serve as the intake organization for ideas. Potential investment opportunities will be reviewed by Calgary Economic Development, relevant government and private sector experts as well as third-party assessments where appropriate.