Western Economic Diversification Canada
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Message from the Honourable Lynne Yelich

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The Honourable Lynne Yelich Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification

The Honourable Lynne Yelich Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification

Over the past decade, Canada’s western provinces have enjoyed steady economic growth and success, benefiting from the region’s abundance of natural resources that include agriculture, forestry, mining, and oil and gas. However, during the current global economic slowdown, it is crucial that the West capitalize on its wealth of aspiring entrepreneurs and leading innovators to build a resilient and diversified western economy.

Western Economic Diversification Canada’s (WD) investments in innovation are improving the productivity of traditional industries and putting Western Canada at the forefront of the aerospace sector. In Saskatchewan, Regina’s Petroleum Technology Research Centre will start two research projects to increase oil extraction efficiency and reduce strain of oil extraction on resources. In Thompson, Manitoba, a recent WD investment will support the development of a leading edge cold weather airplane engine testing facility.

Accounting for nearly half of all existing jobs, small business is a vital source of economic growth in the West and a top priority for WD. The Department invests in projects that equip the next generation of entrepreneurs and trades-people with the skills they need to thrive in the global marketplace. In Alberta, WD has made several investments towards expanding training capacity at NAIT, ensuring that students train with state-of the-art equipment and have a competitive advantage upon graduation.

The Department continues to work closely with communities to help them adjust to challenging economic circumstances and promote rural diversification. Most recently, our Department is contributing to Canada’s Economic Action Plan by delivering the Community Adjustment Fund and Recreational Infrastructure Canada program throughout Western Canada.

Westerners are adventurers and, as this issue of Access West illustrates, WD is working hard to support western communities, entrepreneurs and innovators. I am confident that our efforts will continue to help build a stronger West, for a stronger Canada.