2021 Annual Report

Below the Surface

Financial Statements

2020 Annual Report

Boldly Go

Read the report Financial Statements

Anniversaries are a time of reflection – but more than that, they’re an opportunity for action.

The Canada West Foundation’s 50th anniversary this year has been a chance for us to envision where we want to go, as a foundation, as a region and as a country, and what we need to do to get there.

At our core, we believe that Canada’s strength comes from its diversity, that we are better when build upon the best in all provinces and regions. But that’s easier said than done.

Fifty years ago, the Canada West Foundation was established by thoughtful Canadians from across the West and across political perspectives. They shared a conviction that “the West had an even greater contribution to make to Confederation that would benefit Canada and Canadian unity,” as the Hon. James A. Richardson said at the time. Their goal was to amplify the West’s distinct voice, and in turn, help build a stronger Canada.

In those 50 years the West has grown in population, wealth and influence. It has been a time of major political, economic and social change. Whole new industries have arisen that didn’t exist then. And the Canada West Foundation has been part of that great evolution.

A Canada West Foundation 50th Anniversary project
OUR WEST: People, Places and Progress from 1971-2021

Read the stories here

The next 50 years promise no less change and even greater challenges for the federation.

New clean tech industries, an increasingly responsible and responsive resource sector, changing international markets and the skills the West needs to thrive are all at the top of today’s Canada West Foundation agenda – as is the need for greater cooperation among federal, provincial and municipal governments.

We don’t promise any easy solutions to any of the challenges faced by the West. But we do promise to do the work to find useful, workable solutions.

As we look to the horizon for our next 50 years, this is what guides us:

  • Question the status quo
  • Ask hard questions
  • Look at the facts even if they don’t align with our assumptions and then follow where the evidence leads us.

When we find solutions – real, fact-checked and evidence-based – we promise to share them far and wide with members of the public, business leaders, decision-makers and more, even when it’s a tough sell. All this, in pursuit of good public policy and a bright future for people across the West and all of Canada.

We are proud that over the past 50 years our research has gained the ear of premiers, prime ministers and other politicians of all political stripes; commanded the attention of business and community leaders; and informed and engaged members of the public across the West and Canada. We know we’ve made a difference in the West.

2020 had no shortage of big issues for us to tackle, including the future of responsible energy; the West’s trade relations with the United States and China; how to respond to the upheaval of the global pandemic and the changing world of work, including how to transfer skills and competencies between jobs. We published 14 reports, 11 What Now? policy briefs, and 39 newsletter briefs on China, Energy Innovation and the Future of Work and Learning. We hosted seven virtual events that brought together hundreds of participants from across
the West, Canada and abroad, gave 26 presentations, did 163 media interviews and wrote 51 op-eds that were published in major papers.

THANK YOU for your support that has enabled us to do that work.

Sound public policy demands a healthy dose of skepticism about the status quo – but it requires optimism, too. It is our honour and privilege to work towards a better future for the West and all of Canada, this year, the next 50 and beyond.

Together, we boldly go.

Gary G. Mar, QC
President and CEO
Raymond D. Crossley
Chair of the Board


Financial Highlights 2020

December 31, 2020 with comparative figures for 2019*



Net Assets

$ 9,454,444

$ 9,248,611



(Donations, grants, special projects)

$ 1,909,751

$ 1,720,456

Operating Expenses

$ 2,102,142

$ 2,197,113

Annual Operating Transfer from Endowment

$ 440,000

$ 400,000

Operating surplus (deficit)

$ 247,609

$ (76,657)

*2020 audited financial statements available July 2020 | cwf.ca/about-us/annual-reports

Our 2020

In 2020, our work reached political leaders, policy-makers, media and members of the public across Western Canada, the country as a whole and abroad, including those who told us that that they refer to our analyses and recommendations often. It landed in the halls of provincial legislatures and the House of Commons, as far away as Canada’s Embassy in China, and of course during the pandemic, on the screens of numerous work-from-home offices across the country.

Responsible energy for the future

We investigated how ESG can play a credible role in responsible energy production, studied how public policy can be used to attract transition finance for future-fit hydrocarbons and published a major report on performance management in Canadian resource sectors – all part of working toward a sustainable, responsible approach to energy development.

Carbon and climate policies that support prosperity

From greenhouse gas reduction legislation and regulations across Canada to a clear guide on the implications of the new Clean Fuel Standard, our work helped ensure that carbon and climate policies consider both environmental sustainability and economic prosperity.

Getting to go

Our work, including the popular Energy Innovation Brief launched in 2020, examined the energy innovation system and what is needed to ensure innovation will thrive.

Getting things built in Canada

The effects of new impact assessment legislation and the tanker ban are being felt in Canada and we continued to evaluate new developments and respond in the media and elsewhere on what to do to ensure the smooth functioning of project development that is both effective and responsible.

Global trade

Exports to Canada’s second-largest trading partner continue to grow, even amid political tensions. Our work, including an in-depth analysis of agricultural trade widely circulated across Western Canada, Ottawa and China, provided evidence that we need to do more when it comes to managing the economic rise of China.

The United States
The new NAFTA and new administration will not resolve all trade tensions with the U.S.; our work showed how states and provinces can cooperate to improve the economic competitiveness of western North America in key areas, including energy and climate change, COVID recovery and agriculture.

Rediscovering other markets

We modelled and identified detailed HS 6-digit product level export opportunities based on Japan’s tariff reductions under the CPTPP – data that can be used to identify specific opportunities in existing agreements that Western Canadian businesses can take advantage of to grow exports strategically.

Getting to market

Canada’s trade infrastructure requires significant upgrades. We are set to release a strategic infrastructure framework so that Canada can get the products it needs to market in an efficient and effective way.

Skills and competencies

With the world of work changing, and in-demand skills and competencies often transferable between jobs, we produced work on how Labour Market Information, a pan-Canadian competency framework, modular credentials and digital skills can assist both workers and the workforce in that transformation.

Digital strategies for economic growth

Every job is a digital job and strong digital skills and broadband internet have become table stakes for success for much of the workforce. We published work on how provinces can build broadband infrastructure and digital skills to improve social and economic outcomes for people in rural and remote communities.

Our Impact

Looking Forward 2021

2021 marks Canada West Foundation’s 50th anniversary. Among the celebrations, in the first half of the year we launched a major project, Our West, exploring and celebrating stories that have shaped Western Canada. These stories will be told on our website throughout the year.

Looking ahead, our work in 2021 includes how to:

Remain competitive in times of change
  • Carbon and climate policies that benefit the West
  • Responsible energy for the future
  • Profiting from cleantech innovation
Establish trade, investment and trade infrastructure for 2021 and beyond
  • The West’s relations with its largest trade partners, the U.S. and China
  • Rediscovering other markets
  • Improving Canada’s trade infrastructure to get to market
Build needed workforce skills and competencies
  • Effective and efficient workforce development
  • Solutions to workplace transition, particularly amid massive workforce disruption
  • The role of micro credentials in the skills economy

Thank you to our 2020-2021 supporters

Champions ($50,000+)

Patrons ($25,000+)

Builders ($10,000+)

Arthur J.E. Child Foundation Endowment Fund at the Calgary Foundation


Alberta Wheat Commission


Energy Futures Lab/
The Natural Step Canada


Coril Holdings

Export Development Canada

Canadian Construction Association


Government of Canada,
Privy Council Office


Government of Alberta

Shell Canada


Government of Canada,
Essential Skills Initiative

Vancouver Fraser Port Authority

Government of Canada,
Trade Commissioner Service

Government of Canada, Innovation, Science and Economic Development


Government of Canada,
Western Economic Diversification

Hal Kvisle

Husky Energy

Ron Wallace

Max Bell Foundation

Western Canada Road Builders & Heavy Construction Association


Richardson Family



Members ($5,000+)

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Dr. Audrey Doerr

Gary G. Mar, Q.C.

Alberta Pork

David Dzisiak

Rod McLennan, Q.C.

Alberta Real Estate Foundation


James A. Richardson

ARC Financial

Glacier FarmMedia

Saskatchewan Pork

Maurice Bundon

Government of Canada, International Economic Policy Bureau, Global Affairs

Sask Heavy Construction Assoc.

Canadian Cattlemen’s Association

Martha Hall Findlay


Chevron Canada

Honey Bee Manufacturing Ltd.

Ty Lund Family Foundation

Dentons Canada LLP

Ian MacGregor


Jim Dinning and Evelyn Main

Manitoba Pork


Donors 2020-JULY2021

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