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Calgary to Lead Canada Growth to 2015, Conference Board Says

Calgary, Canada’s energy capital, will lead economic growth among the country’s cities, helped by expansion of the oil and gas industry and population growth, an economic institute forecast.

Calgary will post annual growth of more than 4 percent from 2013 to 2015, following a pace of about 3.5 percent next year, said Mario Lefebvre, the director for the Centre for Municipal Studies at the Conference Board of Canada, in a presentation today. The city is adding about 25,000 people a year to its population of about 1.2 million, he said.

“Population growth is such a huge boost to the economy,” said Lefebvre. “Job growth this year has finally completed the economic puzzle.”

Investment in Alberta’s oil sands, which will be about C$20 billion ($19.4 billion) this year, is helping to fuel growth in Canada’s fourth-largest city, which has Canada’s second-highest concentration of corporate headquarters. Growing demand for energy will continue to provide economic growth, said Lefebvre.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi toured Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia last week to promote the job opportunities in a bid to stave off labor shortages, Lefebvre noted. Nenshi and the city need to do a better job “drafting people” to come to Calgary because it’s not an “international destination,” he said.

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