2020 ANNUAL REPORT | MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT & THE CHAIR OF THE BOARD
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
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*
(Donations, grants, special projects)
Annual Operating Transfer from Endowment
Operating surplus (deficit)
*2020 audited financial statements available July 2020 | cwf.ca/about-us/annual-reports
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.
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.
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
Arthur J.E. Child Foundation Endowment Fund at the Calgary Foundation
Alberta Wheat Commission
Energy Futures Lab/
Export Development Canada
Canadian Construction Association
Government of Canada,
Government of Alberta
Government of Canada,
Vancouver Fraser Port Authority
Government of Canada,
Government of Canada, Innovation, Science and Economic Development
Government of Canada,
Max Bell Foundation
Western Canada Road Builders & Heavy Construction Association
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Dr. Audrey Doerr
Gary G. Mar, Q.C.
Rod McLennan, Q.C.
Alberta Real Estate Foundation
James A. Richardson
Government of Canada, International Economic Policy Bureau, Global Affairs
Sask Heavy Construction Assoc.
Canadian Cattlemen’s Association
Martha Hall Findlay
Honey Bee Manufacturing Ltd.
Ty Lund Family Foundation
Dentons Canada LLP
Jim Dinning and Evelyn Main