Quarterly News – June 2020

Welcome to the second issue of our Quarterly News.

Our region has experienced a fundamental shift as we face three simultaneous crises; the COVID-19 pandemic, low oil prices resulting in an economic downturn, and a 1-in-100-year flood. I’m inspired to see our region rallying as strong as we ever have and working together.

Going Back Together - safely reopening our economy

With Stage 1 of Alberta’s relaunch strategy allowing some businesses to reopen on May 14th, the Business Recovery Task Force launched a Going Back Together campaign that focuses on the importance of keeping each other safe while returning to work. While economic recovery is crucial for the region, it is imperative that businesses take the time they need to plan their reopening as we have a shared responsibility to keep each other safe.

We are uniquely positioned to be leaders in reopening as we have a culture of safety in our community – one that we can rely on, and have relied on, to get us through difficult times. Working together is something this community does best.

As more businesses consider reopening during Stage 2, we understand the complexity of this decision and trust our businesses to determine when its best for them, their employees and their customers to safely reopen.

The campaign has a Community Toolkit available so you can share how you are going back safely. Share your story or picture using #GoingBackTogether.


One central spot for business recovery resources

In partnership with Community Futures Wood Buffalo, Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce, Fort McMurray Construction Association, and NAABA, we developed a centralized portal that provides business resources and supports. The portal, is designed to help you navigate through the pandemic, post-flood and Alberta’s phased reopening. houses federal, provincial and local resources all in one spot - specific and relevant to our region’s unique circumstances.

As we move through these crises, will be continually updated. I encourage you to visit regularly and share any templates or tools you feel could benefit other local business owners.

Working together to strengthen our region’s outcome 

The portal and the Going Back Together campaign are big initiatives for our community, ones that were achieved through the collaborative efforts of the Business Recovery Task Force (the “Task Force”).

In response to the COVID-19 global pandemic and the 2020 Flood, WBEDC, with the support of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) Mayor and Council, established the Task Force to recommend programs and supports to inform a Business & Economic Recovery Plan.

The Task Force assembled a Final Report which outlines recommendations that were developed by the Task Force. This report will be available on our website on June 23, 2020 and will be presented to the RMWB Council the same day.

The Final Report reflects what was heard from the local business community and will be used to inform the region’s Business & Economic Recovery Plan which will be presented to RMWB Council on July 14, 2020.

You can connect with any one of the Task Force members by e-mailing with questions or comments.

We look forward to sharing more of our region’s recovery initiatives with you as they become available.

Until then, I invite you to review WBEDC’s 2019 Annual Report. This inaugural report reflects on the past year’s achievements and highlights further why our work, and our partnerships are so important for our region.

Sincerely, Kevin Weidlich, CEO Wood Buffalo Economic Development

Impacts on our region

Over the past several months, our region has faced a historic series of challenges significantly impacting our region’s economy. The following captures this moment in time as we navigate through recovery.


Source: as of June 14, 2020

table of covid cases in FMWB

OIL PRICES: Western Canadian Select Crude

Source: as of June 12, 2020


2020 FLOOD: Affected Structures



INDUSTRY CORNER: Canadian oil and gas capital investment cut by $8.6B

Industry is facing unprecedented challenges with COVID-19 and collapsing oil prices. In response, companies continue to cut costs and capital expenditures to maintain operations.

Canadian oil and natural gas producers have weathered downturns and low prices before. While rebound won’t be immediate, industry is resilient and confident they can recover. They are working together to survive this economic crisis and protect as many jobs as possible - to ensure that the oil and natural gas industry can play a significant role in Canada’s economic future.

Oil machinery working in the sunset

Global Oil Demand

  • Our world class oil reserves - along with world class safety, and environmental and human rights standards - supports Canada’s opportunity to be a global supplier of choice.
  • Global energy demand is forecasted to grow by 24% by 2040. While demand for oil is currently down, oil and gas will continue to be a substantial part of the global energy mix. This creates a major role for Canadian oil and gas to grow Canada’s economy.

Did you know? Both N95 masks as well as soaps and sanitizers that are crucial during this pandemic are made from petroleum products.