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The Government of Canada’s Economic Action Plan

Through Canada’s Economic Action Plan (EAP), the Government of Canada took direct action to create jobs and protect Canadians during the global economic recession.

Under the EAP, WD invested in more than 1,000 projects across the West. Through the Community Adjustment Fund (CAF), WD helped communities reduce the short-term impacts of the economic downturn. Through the Recreational Infrastructure Canada (RInC) program, WD has provided funding for the construction or improvement of recreational facilities in communities across the West.

As the first phase of the EAP winds down, Access West is profiling CAF and RInC projects from across the West to demonstrate how investments made by WD continue to benefit western Canadians through a legacy of modernized infrastructure, economic development and enhanced skills training.

For more information, please visit: www.actionplan.gc.ca

Helping a Community from the Ground Up

Members of the Alberni Athletic Association unveil the facility’s new hand-carved wooden sign.

Members of the Alberni Athletic Association unveil the facility’s new hand-carved wooden sign.

In 2009, Port Alberni lost its beloved community hall and athletic centre to a fire. For a city that was already feeling the effects of the downturn in the forestry sector, it was a crushing loss. The community wasn’t prepared to shoulder the cost of building a new complex. But through the RInC program, WD provided an investment that would finance much of the new construction.

"Investing in the Alberni Athletic Hall reconstruction project ensured that this community would have access to the essential infrastructure they need today and in the future," said James Lunney, Member of Parliament for Nanaimo-Alberni, on behalf of Minister Yelich.

Photo of Dr. James Lunney, Member of Parliament for Nanaimo-Alberni, announcing funding for the new Alberni Athletic Hall.

Dr. James Lunney, Member of Parliament for Nanaimo-Alberni, announces funding for the new Alberni Athletic Hall. The original sign serves as his backdrop.

The association came up with a plan for a 1,532-square-metre steel building. The thought of doing without a community hall mobilized the town, and the donations poured in. Larry Spencer, Director of the Alberni Athletics Association, estimates the most recent tally at $400,000 in cash and in-kind services, in addition to the RInC funds provided by WD and other government assistance.

Today, Port Alberni is home to a new hall that allows residents and visitors to participate once again in a variety of indoor recreational activities. The building features a gymnasium, sports courts and an indoor archery range, as well as new change rooms and bleachers. The complex hosts basketball tournaments, chamber of commerce meetings and First Nations potlatches, all activities that are helping renew Port Alberni’s community spirit.



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Training for the Trades

Photo of a mason laying brickwork

WD provided CAF funding to the Saskatoon Trades and Skills Centre for the construction of an educational training facility for trades such as masonry, culinary arts and early childhood education. The facility addresses the needs of Saskatoon and area employers for skilled workers and prepares youth and adults for employment and career opportunities in the trades.

In Saskatoon, much of the training at the Saskatoon Trades and Skills Centre used to occur outside. But that’s now changed with the construction of a new training facility for trades.

In 2009, WD provided CAF funding to support the construction of the facility, which was supplemented by an investment from the Province of Saskatchewan. The new centre is strengthening economic opportunities in the province by providing students with the skills necessary for a range of employers.

"Our Government took action to ensure our communities emerged from challenging economic times more prosperous and stronger than ever," said Kelly Block, Member of Parliament for Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar, on behalf of Minister Yelich. "This facility is equipping our youth with valuable skills, assisting trade sectors in Saskatchewan to meet labour shortages, and acting to improve our region’s economic growth."


Photo of MP Kelly Block joining Minister Rob Norris, students and other dignitaries to cut the ribbon on Saskatoon Trades and Skills Centre.

Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar MP Kelly Block (far right) joins Saskatchewan Minister of Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration Rob Norris (far left), students and other dignitaries to cut the ribbon on the Saskatoon Trades and Skills Centre.

The new facility supports training in the mining, manufacturing and construction sectors, providing training for over 325 students per year. Combined with a new suite of training equipment for drywalling, masonry, painting, carpentry and other trades, the centre "can now offer programs to meet the needs of most employers," said Donavon Elliott, the centre’s manager.

The 780-square-metre building opened for business last summer with 270 students. "All the programs are proving popular," said Elliott.

The centre develops programs that are relevant and immediately applicable on the job. Customized training courses provide a basic understanding of tools and equipment used on the job, terminology, common safety issues and practices, and other components needed to prepare employees to begin contributing right away in the workplace.

Equipment Upgrade Essential to Company’s Viability

Photo of an employee working with the Computer Numeric Controlled Router at Prendiville Industries.

The arrival of this Computer Numeric Controlled Router at Prendiville Industries in Thompson, Manitoba, saved the jobs of more than 35 employees by keeping the company in the game.

For years, Thompson, Manitoba’s 49-year-old Prendiville Industries’ woodworking plant had a strong hold on the market for the wooden frames used by the local mining industry to refine zinc. However, by the summer of 2010, the company was beginning to realize that its manufacturing processes could benefit from greater efficiencies.

As a first step, the company investigated replacing the manual router employees used to cut the frames. By winter, the router had been replaced with a single computer-numeric-controlled (CNC) model, essentially a robot that makes cuts faster and more precisely.

The router, purchased with a repayable loan from WD through the CAF program, is essentially the same kind of tool used by a craftsman, only three or four metres longer, bolted to the floor, and controlled by computer.

"We were able to do it before, but it was inefficient," said Ken Stovel, Chief Financial Officer for Prendiville Industries. "Now we’re able to make a wider range of products for the mining industry."

The company hired one new operator and trained another two people to use the router. The router’s arrival is the kind of modern infrastructure the company needs to become more competitive in a growing market, said Stovel.

"These kinds of projects will not only create jobs in our communities, but they also help pave the way for Canada’s future growth and prosperity," said Minister Yelich.

In addition to the Thompson operation, Prendiville supplies wood products for the mining and construction industries from plants in Winnipeg and Neepawa, Manitoba, and Kenora, Ontario.

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Enhancing Recreational Infrastructure

Photo of the grand opening of Assiniboine Park upgrades.

The grand opening of Assiniboine Park upgrades (L-R: Margaret Redmond, President and CEO of the Assiniboine Park Conservancy Inc.; Hartley Richardson, Chair of the Assiniboine Park Conservancy Inc.; Mayor Sam Katz; the Honourable Steven Fletcher, Minister of State for Transport).

Winnipeg is making significant improvements to its recreational infrastructure, with numerous enhancements and upgrades being completed to parks and facilities throughout the city with the help of WD and RInC funding delivered to the city.

These funds allowed improvements at various soccer fields, athletic parks, and at Assiniboine Park, the city’s premier open space, which has seen a number of enhancements and is now home to a new ‘Nature Playground,’ as well as an enlargement of the duck pond that serves as a summer gathering spot and winter skating rink.

In addition, the North Centennial Recreation and Leisure Facility, commissioned 25 years ago as a municipal swimming pool, now has a fully equipped gymnasium, fitness centre, multipurpose art room and teaching kitchen. "And it’s entirely accessible, including all of the fitness equipment and even the pool has a wheelchair ramp," said Dan Prokopchuk, Manager of Community Development and Recreation Services for the City of Winnipeg.

Residents have never had anything comparable open to them until now, he added. "It’s the first of its kind in the North End. This really has filled a need for recreation in the community. The latest usage figures show more than 800 people per day, as well as several schools and community organizations, taking advantage of it."

These improvements will strengthen the local economy and help ensure that quality facilities exist for residents and athletes of all ages and levels to enjoy.