Western Economic Diversification Canada
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Summary of the progress made by Western Economic Diversification in 2009–2010

Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) has played a significant role in the delivery of the economic stimulus package, the Economic Development Initiative (EDI) under the Roadmap for Linguistic Duality in Canada, and provided  support to economic activities in Western Canada related the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and expanded business sector in Western Canada.

Awareness:

WD is committed to raising awareness about the francophone community (OLMCs in western Canada) and value of linguistic duality throughout the department. Some of the results for 2009 were: the support of “les Rendez-Vous de la Francophonie” activities within all department’s regional offices and awareness sessions for project officers on the newly established “OL lens” considerations under project due diligence requirements.

WD recruited a National Coordinator who is located in Western Canada and who directs ongoing communication with the OL Champion and members of the WD OL Team. This OL structure within WD allows the dissemination of information, horizontally and vertically, which is favourable to raising awareness at all levels and in every region mandated by WD.

In support of promoting “L’Ouest canadien en français”, Executive representatives  and the OL Team participated in a presentation organized by “La Place de la Francophonie 2010” during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, as well as a presentation by  FEDOs on the Corridor Touristique de l’ouest.

Management recognized the importance of Official Languages (OL) and the benefits for Public Service Renewal, and for the first time in WD history supported the hiring of a bilingual coop student dedicated to the OL Team.

Consultations:

WD led pan western consultations with its Francophone Economic Development Organizations (FEDOs), official members of the Western Canada Business Service Network (WCBSN) in order to maintain open communications and to ensure WDs understanding of OLMCs priorities in economic development.

Both WD and the FEDOs agreed to quarterly pan west video conferences to help WD maintain a good understanding of economic development priorities in OLMCs and for the FEDOs to share common concerns and best practices.

Communications:

During the reporting period, WD maintained ongoing communication with the western OLMCs, held briefing sessions with FEDOs and other members of the WCBSN regarding the implementation of the federal Economic Development Initiative (EDI).

Ongoing discussions are taking place to ensure that a good referral process is in place within the WD Network (WCBSN) to better serve the OLMCs.

Coordination and liaison:

WD continues to coordinate and liaise with other government institutions. Through the implementation of EDI, WD is in regular communication with Industry Canada and the other Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) to ensure a more consistent delivery from coast to coast. WD also participates at the local and national level on various committees in order to support horizontal efforts and ensure complementary services to OLMCs. 

In order to ensure the successful implementation of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, which included promoting linguistic duality, a WD bilingual officer was lent to the 2010 Secretariat during these events. As well, WD initiated discussion with the other RDAs, which resulted in the participation of additional OLMCs from Ontario (with FedNor’s collaboration), and a representation from the Inuit community at “Place de la Francophonie”.

Through WD’s collaboration and liaison activities, WD also contributed efforts in the realization of a partnership with Canada Border Services Agency, Tourism BC and the francophone community for the creation and distribution of francophone tourism brochures at both the Toronto and Vancouver international airports. 

Funding and program delivery:

WD maintains its core support to FEDOs ($2.18 M/year), who in turn have provided economic support and coordinated efforts on the advancement for the economic development for OLMCs in western regions.

WD funded projects under the economic stimulus package ($8,846,159), EDI ($710,000) and other WD programs ($3,133,000) with a total investment of $12,689,159 to projects with a significant impact on the economic vitality of OLMCs. Of the various projects funded, two should be noted:

  • WD’s support of the tourism industry and promotion of linguistic duality though funds provided to the “Place de la Francophonie” (in collaboration with Canadian Heritage)
  • Support provided to a project targeting the 17 bilingual municipalities of Manitoba which promoted rural diversification, youth initiatives, and business advisory support for new Canadians.

Accountability:

A review of WD’s direct involvement concerning the economic support for OLMCs through the FEDOs core funding was reviewed to confirm their value-added in western Canada. This activity also contributed to the FEDO’s one year renewal for next fiscal year.

The implementation of an “OL lens” was an important addition to the due diligence process and ensured’s WDs accountability when identifying OLMC’s involvement on various interventions accomplished through Grants & Contributions.