PRESS RELEASE: AFL launches “Diversify Alberta” campaign to give Alberta workers a say in their own economic future

Alberta has a bright future in a changing world – but we need to play our cards right

EDMONTON – As the global energy transition picks up speed, Alberta’s largest worker advocacy group, the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) is launching a new campaign, called Diversify Alberta, aimed at giving workers in the province a platform to tell decision makers about their hopes, concerns, and preferences as the economy evolves.

“As it stands right now, we have one camp saying, ‘shut it all down’ and another camp saying, ‘drill baby, drill,’” says AFL president Gil McGowan. “From our perspective, this is not a constructive way to approach the conversation. Albertans understand that change is coming and that we need to prepare for it or run the risk of being left behind. That’s what the Diversify Alberta campaign is all about. The politicians and the pundits have been talking non-stop – it’s time for Alberta workers to have their say.”

The campaign features a website,, which is built around a report prepared by the AFL and a coalition of unions representing Albertans working in our province’s oil and gas, construction, and manufacturing sectors. The report, entitled “Skate to Where the Puck is Going,” was released last year and lays out an economic blueprint that, if followed, would allow Alberta to grow and prosper in a changing world.

“Our report is the product of months of work and consultation with unions representing tens of thousands of Albertans working in our key industries,” says McGowan. “We understood that we can’t control changes in the global economy, but we can control how we respond to them. Our goal is to keep as many people working in our traditional industries as possible, for as long as possible, while at the same time pivoting towards new opportunities in the lower-carbon economy.”

As part of the campaign, the AFL will be holding town hall meetings across the province, starting with a series of meetings in southern Alberta, including stops in Lethbridge (March 11), Pincher Creek (March 12), Medicine Hat (March 13), Brooks (March 14), Olds (March 18), Nanton (March 19), Okotoks (March 20), and Calgary (March 21).

“We put our ‘Skate to Where the Puck is Going’ report together to lobby governments; now we’ll be using it to start conversations with workers across the province,” says McGowan. “We know Albertans support diversification, but we want to know if what we’ve outlined in the report is what they’d like to see. And we’re going to take what we hear from workers and bring it to decision makers at all levels. Doing nothing is not an option. And neither is leaving workers out of the conversation.”

The campaign will also feature a blog series to be shared widely on social media, starting with a blog explaining why Alberta should implement a government-led industrial policy similar to the one created south of the border by the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

The conclusion of blog #1 explains the whole purpose of the Diversify Alberta campaign: “The AFL has a fresh, modern approach to economic policy and job creation. Instead of fighting against change, we have a plan to mitigate energy transition risks while taking full advantage of the opportunities created by the transition. With the right industrial strategy and policies, Alberta can create more good-paying jobs than ever before.”

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John Ashton
Director of Communications, AFL