Western Economic Diversification Canada
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Minister's Message

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Photo of the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification
The Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification

This year, the world saw exactly what Western Canada is capable of accomplishing. The Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games brought the world to our doorstep, allowing Vancouver to play host to not just top athletes, but also world and business leaders. Before, during, and after the Games, Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) seized every opportunity to help Western Canada showcase its strengths to the world.

Even while Canada and the rest of the world were struggling with one of the worst economic downturns in recent history, WD’s investments in projects promoting innovation, community economic and business development were helping our region emerge from this recession stronger than ever.

Our investments in innovation are improving the productivity of traditional and emerging industries, and putting Western Canada at the forefront of the knowledge-based economy. In Alberta, WD investments are helping the Alberta Centre for Advanced Microsystems and Nanotechnology Products (ACAMP) commercialize micro and nanotechnologies. In Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre will transform a wide variety of agricultural crops into innovative consumer food products.  And in British Columbia, a recent WD investment is helping the University of British Columbia establish cutting-edge 3D technology to further mining research.

Accounting for nearly half of all existing jobs, small businesses are a vital source of economic growth in the West and remain a top priority for WD. We invest in projects that equip the next generation of entrepreneurs and skilled workers with what they need to thrive in the global marketplace. In Manitoba, WD has invested in CentrePort Canada Inc., which will take advantage of duty and tax relief programs and Winnipeg’s key location to leverage foreign investment and link businesses to international markets.

WD also continues its work with other levels of government and communities to help them adjust to challenging economic circumstances and promote rural diversification. Over the past year, our Department has been busy delivering the Community Adjustment Fund and Recreational Infrastructure Canada program under Canada’s Economic Action Plan throughout Western Canada. These programs are creating jobs, and helping workers and communities get back on their feet.

Western Canada has a lot to offer the world, and as this issue of Access West illustrates, WD is working hard to help western economies, entrepreneurs, and innovation prosper. I am confident that our efforts will assist Western Canada in emerging stronger than ever. Because a stronger West is a stronger Canada.