Wood Buffalo: Major Projects Energize Economic Development

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo is a major economic engine for Alberta – and for Canada. Physically located in the world’s third largest oil reserve, the northeast region of the province remains poised to respond to the estimated 31 percent increase in global energy demands over the next 20 years.

“Wood Buffalo, including Fort McMurray, is an epicentre for future economic growth,” says Amanda Haitas, manager with Wood Buffalo Economic Development 
Corporation. “Investors have significant impacts in our region because there is truly an environment that encourages innovation and growth.”

Wood Buffalo by the Numbers

• Incorporated as a City: 
 April 1, 1995
• Current Mayor: Don Scott
• Population (2016): 71,589
• Population Change 
 2011-2016: 9.2%
• Regional Population* 
 (2015): 125,032
• Land Area: 61,778 sq. km
• Investment from Rebuilding 
 After 2016 Wildfire: $5.4 billion
• Median Household Income: 

*Includes rural service area and temporary residents working in the region for more than 30 days per year

Sources: Alberta Government, Statistics Canada, Wood Buffalo Economic Development Corp.

No one knows this better than the region’s natural resource developers. Teck Resources, for example, is currently seeking approval for a $20-billion project that would be one of the largest investments in the history of the oil sands. The major international mining company has already secured 14 participation agreements with the region’s Cree, Dene, and Métis communities to move forward in commercializing the 292 square kilometre project.

Located 110 kilometres north of Fort McMurray, the proposed operation will draw more residents to the region through the creation of about 2,500 permanent jobs, as well as employment for about 7,000 workers during construction.

Teck Resources estimates the project will pay out 
$66 billion in taxes and royalties over the projected 41-year life of the mine, ultimately adding to the already robust business sector and community infrastructure in Wood Buffalo.