Innovators want to see action before the Alberta 2023 election

By Dana O’Born
CCI Vice-President of Strategy and Advocacy

When politicians return to the Alberta legislature new Premier Danielle Smith will need to watch from the sidelines, because she doesn’t yet hold a seat in the legislative assembly.

Smith is currently running in a byelection slated for early November — the same time the legislature is set to resume — but it’s safe to say that the new premier and everybody else in Alberta politics is spending more time thinking about the general election coming in May of next year.

The fall legislative session is Premier Smith’s big opportunity to present a strong policy agenda, and showcase her political team before asking voters for another mandate.

Alberta’s tech sector is looking to Premier Smith and the UCP government on a few key priorities.

CCI’s open letter to Premier Smith calling for legislative action to prevent regulatory overreach and litigation by the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) now has more than 100 signatures.

Tech companies who employ software engineers have been concerned about APEGA’s aggressive stance for a long time, and we are hoping to see a legislative change before the election.

As we’ve outlined in our letters to Premier Smith and Kaycee Madu, Deputy Premier and Minister of Skilled Trades and Professions, innovators in Alberta need the legislation to be changed so that APEGA can focus on regulating the P.Eng designation, without pursuing technology companies that use informal job titles like “software engineer.”

More broadly, tech companies in Alberta will be looking to the government for signals that innovation is an important part of the province’s economic growth. Creating a new role in cabinet for a Minister of Technology and Innovation is a good step, but we are looking for concrete action from Minister Nate Glubish. This includes action on an Intellectual Property strategy for Alberta. The Alberta government has touted the thriving tech companies in Edmonton and Calgary as a source of pride.

Those companies need access to talent, capital and customers in order to fuel their growth. Thriving tech companies also need a government that is working hand-in-hand to implement marketplace frameworks that support their growth.

The election will be held on May 29, 2023. That means the formal campaign will start in less than 200 days. For right now, though, Premier Smith and her team have a chance to govern, and show progress on the files that impact Albertans.

To learn more about CCI’s work in Alberta, email Dana O’Born.

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