Who We Are
Alberta’s Industrial Heartland is a 582 square kilometre industrial energy cluster and one of the world’s most attractive locations for chemical, petrochemical, oil, and gas investment. As Canada’s largest hydrocarbon processing region, we’re making history enabling diversification at the intersection of economic resiliency and environmental leadership.
With $40+ billion in existing capital investment and more than 40 companies, Alberta’s Industrial Heartland provides fuels, fertilizers, power, petrochemicals, hydrogen, and more to provincial and global consumers.
Industrial investment attraction to Alberta’s Industrial Heartland is guided by the Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association (AIHA), a non-profit municipal collaboration promoting responsible development. The partnership was formally created in 1998, recognizing the importance of cooperation in pursuit of common goals. Together, the municipalities take a proactive and collaborative approach to planning and industrial development.
A leading principal of AIHA is promoting responsible development within the region. This includes ensuring the region is ready for development in its infrastructure, services, and land use zoning principles. AIHA recognizes that activities in the area can have a major impact on neighboring communities and affect their service delivery as well. Together, the municipalities take a proactive and cooperative approach to planning and industrial development.
The five municipal partners have land within the geographic boundaries of the Heartland and each have one vote within the Association:
- City of Fort Saskatchewan
- Lamont County
- Strathcona County
- Sturgeon County
- City of Edmonton (official partner in 2010)
Associate Membership was added in 2011. Associate Members are municipalities invited to participate on committees, task forces, and attend Board meetings. While Associate Members do not have voting rights, their views contribute to the actions taken by the Association.
The three Associate Members include:
Board of Directors
As a not-for-profit association, AIHA is governed by a Board of Directors, comprised of one representative of each of the five municipal partners. The Board of Directors provides general direction and strategic priorities for AIHA Executive Director and staff members. Ensuring responsible, productive, and environmentally sound development, the Board and AIHA staff work closely with numerous stakeholders, including government, private industry, and area residents.
Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association is guided by a set of operating principles and protocols, signed by the Mayors and/or Reeves of the partner municipalities in May 1998.
AIHA Intermunicipal Cooperation Protocol
The participating municipalities of the City of Fort Saskatchewan, City of Edmonton, Lamont County, Strathcona County, and Sturgeon County agree to cooperate and collaborate with each other and with other stakeholders toward achievement of Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association’s objectives. In doing so, it is agreed that each municipality will abide by the operating principles.
- To jointly promote and facilitate the industrial development of the Heartland area.
- To respect each other’s jurisdictional integrity and autonomy.
- To provide or facilitate the provision of services and infrastructure required for the area on a proactive, efficient and where feasible, regional basis.
- To promote open communication and harmony amongst participating Heartland municipalities and other interested parties.
- To collaboratively plan for the area’s use and infrastructure in a manner which maximizes its attractiveness and efficient functioning for industrial development while minimizing land use and environmental conflicts within the area and on its periphery.
- To ensure regular and considerate communication and opportunities for involvement with both industrial and non-industrial landowners of the area with respect to its planning and development.
- To promote and support a coordinated approach to achieving and maintaining appropriate standards of environmental quality and sustainability for the Heartland area.
- To promote and support a coordinated approach to achieving and maintaining appropriate standards of emergency preparedness, public safety and health for the Heartland area.
Since the 1950s, world renowned corporations have chosen to locate in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, taking advantage of its many benefits. Growing in size and scale since that time, it was imperative that development in the Heartland was approached proactively, with collaboration among the area’s businesses, municipal governments, and residents. In the early 1990’s, a comprehensive initiative began, bringing together all stakeholders to create a new model of cooperation in the region.
Formally launched in May 1998, Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association (AIHA) united the four municipalities in the area, three levels of government, and the Northeast Capital Industrial Association (representing industry). The municipalities of Fort Saskatchewan, Lamont County, Strathcona County, and Sturgeon County became official partners through a Board of Directors, providing strategic direction to the Association. These partners recognized that joining resources would enhance their effectiveness in attracting business to the region, improve planning, and ensuring complementary use of resources. In 2010, the City of Edmonton became the fifth municipal partner in an effort to enhance coordination of industrial development in and around the entire Capital Region. Three Associate Members were recognized in 2011 – Towns of Bruderheim, Gibbons, and Redwater. In 2018, AIHA proudly celebrated its 20th anniversary.
To date, the Heartland region has attracted over $40 billion of investment and has developed into Canada’s largest hydrocarbon processing region. The geographic area expanded to encompass 582 square kilometres (225 square miles) of industrial land, and businesses grew to employ a refining workforce of more than 6,000 people. Future development is slated to further increase the region’s bitumen upgrading capacity, pipeline network, and petrochemical processing capabilities.
The success of Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association is, in large part, dependent on thriving partnerships. Our five municipal members in addition to our three associate members together work collaboratively through a Board of Directors with one representative from each municipality.
Partnerships outside the municipal members are also vital to success. Cooperation with industry, government, and other non-profit groups occurs in a variety of forms, such as membership in their organizations, attendance at meetings, joint projects, and information sharing.
Key partners with our Association include:
Fort Air Partnership
The Fort Air Partnership is an independent, non-profit organization with the following mission: To operate a regional network to monitor and report credible and comprehensive ambient air quality information.
Northeast Capital Industrial Association
NCIA is a not-for-profit cooperative representing industry located in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland. NCIA member companies range from large integrated global chemical and petrochemical industries, to industrial service companies.
Northeast Region Community Awareness Emergency Response
NR CAER is a partnership of more than 40 community-minded industries, municipalities, chemical transporters and government agencies dedicated to emergency response and education initiatives in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland.