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Western Producers to Benefit From New Technology

Photo of Dr. Tom Scott, Research Chair, Feed Processing Technology, University of Saskatchewan, demonstrating how the BoMill Seed Sorter operates at the Canadian Feed Research Centre.

Dr. Tom Scott, Research Chair, Feed Processing Technology, University of Saskatchewan, demonstrates how the BoMill Seed Sorter operates at the Canadian Feed Research Centre.

Prairie grain producers will benefit from research using a new seed-sorting machine imported by the University of Saskatchewan (U of S).

The Bo-Mill TriQ seed sorter has the capacity to separate top grade kernels of grain used for breads, beer and pasta, from the lower-grade kernels, such as those used for animal feed.

With support from WD, the U of S’s Canadian Feed Research Centre in North Battleford purchased the revolutionary seed-sorting machine from Sweden. Commercial adoption of this machine has the potential to increase the value of western Canadian grain by as much as $320 million per year.

"Our Government’s first priority is creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity and we are confident this equipment will increase the value of cereal crops produced in Canada," said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. "Using this technology to sort and grade each kernel will generate greater profits for our grain producers, creating jobs and lasting economic growth."

The Bo-Mill TriQ seed sorter is able to assess each kernel of grain using an infrared light for weight, protein, starch and moisture. It also has a high-volume sort capacity for commercial volumes of grain, which means it can sort 30,000 seeds per second, or three tonnes per hour.

The existing seed grading system does not allow for such precision in sorting grain kernels. Often, the lower-quality kernels make up a very small portion of a producer’s entire load of grain, but the price the farmer or producer receives for that load is based on the few bad kernels.

U of S scientists and graduate students are investigating how to adapt the Bo-Mill seed sorter to western Canadian crops, such as wheat, barley and durum.

"This technology will potentially open up new markets for very high end premium breads or new types of pasta or beer, and improve the safety and consistency of these products," said U of S Research Chair Tom Scott.

Mobile Facility Saves Southern B.C. Meat Producers Time and Money

Residents of south-central British Columbia will soon be enjoying a lot more locallyproduced, higher-quality meat and poultry on their dinner plates.

That’s because earlier this year, the Grand Forks and Boundary Regional Agricultural Society (GFBRAS) received funding from WD to acquire and set up a licensed mobile abattoir to serve the region.

"Our Government is proud to invest in the agri-food industry," said MP Dan Albas. "By supporting local meat and poultry industries, we are working to promote a solid foundation that will create jobs while growing the local economy in the Southern Interior Region of B.C."

"We foresee that this project will not only improve the quality and availability of food in the region, but will significantly bolster the economic stability of the southern interior and build more sustainable economies in these communities," said Roly Russell, President of the Grand Forks and Boundary Regional Agricultural Society.

Due to tightened safety regulations that require all meat for human consumption to come from a licensed processing facility, it has become difficult for small-to medium-scale meat producers to compete with bigger companies.

This was particularly the case for those producers in Grand Forks and region. The closest licensed facility was located 100 kilometres away in Rock Creek, which left farmers facing prohibitive transportation costs to ensure their products met current safety standards.

Bringing the abattoir directly on-site saves farmers time and money, which translates into better food and an economic boost for the region.

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Oil Sands Opportunities Abound for Skilled Workers

Portage College has purchased 14 new pieces of equipment to expand its Heavy Equipment Operator (HEO) training program in Boyle, Alberta, thanks to support from WD.

"Our Government’s top priority is the creation of jobs, growth and longterm prosperity," said Fort McMurray-Athabasca MP Brian Jean. "This initiative will help to develop a highly skilled and flexible workforce, while ensuring small- and medium-sized businesses remain competitive in the local and global marketplace."

The new equipment means Portage College no longer has to lease or borrow equipment, which gives students guaranteed training hours with specific equipment – motor graders, excavators and track dozers – something for which employers are looking.

"When we were leasing or borrowing equipment, we were subject to the needs of the companies that we were leasing from, so we couldn’t always get the equipment we needed," said Stuart Leitch, Dean of Community and Industry Training Initiatives.

Hands-on experience with a range of equipment means that new graduates are unlikely to require additional training when they find employment. That’s good news for Alberta businesses, as they can reduce their overhead costs while increasing efficiency and productivity.

The investment will not only help address the growing shortage of skilled labour in oil sands development, but will also contribute to the sustainability of smaller communities. This is because many oil companies sub-contact the construction of sites – tasks such as building roads or excavating drainage ditches – to local firms in the areas where they operate.

Bringing the Classroom to the Students

Photo of student Stephen Wagner watching as Minister Yelich tries her hand at operating a virtual excavator.

Student Stephen Wagner watches as Minister Yelich tries her hand at operating a virtual excavator.

As Canada’s economic recovery gains momentum, the demand for skilled workers is steadily increasing.

This is especially true in Northwestern British Columbia, where the number of mining, power, port and industrial development projects is growing faster than the workforce.

As the demand for skilled workers in the Northwest continues to climb, Northwest Community College (NWCC) is taking steps to ensure that this need for expertise is met and that the Northern economy continues to prosper.

WD provided funding for NWCC to expand its heavy equipment operator training across the region. The expansion involved the purchase of 10 virtual training simulators, along with a heavyduty truck and 32-foot trailer.

"This investment is an excellent example of how our Government is working to create jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity in Western Canada," said Minister Yelich. "Through this support, we are ensuring our northern communities have access to the essential equipment and programs they need to capitalize on their economic opportunities."

These simulators will allow students to attempt challenging maneuvers in dangerous occupational scenarios, with no risk to themselves or the equipment. The truck and trailer make it possible to bring this technology to students in rural communities, where they would normally have little or no access to this type of training.

"The state-of-the-art mobile training unit allows NWCC to deliver the highest quality programs and training in all communities, including the rural and remote communities and industrial work sites in our region," says Beverly Moore- Garcia, Vice President, Education and Student Services, NWCC.

Jessie Louie of the Tahltan First Nation, a recent graduate and one of two female students in the program, is a prime example of how successful the program has been.

Debra Wall, Marketing Communications Advisor at NWCC, said Jessie was "immediately hired by Finning and has been operating heavy equipment all summer. She loves the work and is very happy with the program and the doors NWCC has opened for her."

As it did for Jessie, heavy equipment operator training prepares students for a wide variety of jobs because the skills apply to many different facets of industrial development, such as road building, forestry, excavation and mining site preparation.

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Academic Internships Building Global Connections

Photo of Minister Yelich announcing pan-western funding for Mitacs to deliver three internship programs. Photo credit: Marilyn Mikkelsen.

Minister Yelich announces pan-western funding for Mitacs to deliver three internship programs. Photo credit: Marilyn Mikkelsen.

A WD investment in academic internships will help western Canadian companies gain a competitive advantage by attracting international students to Canadian universities which will develop linkages between Canada and emerging economies.

"Our Government’s top priority is creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity," said Minister Yelich. "Through this project we will strengthen Western Canada’s international engagement and foster commercialization and business development."

The funding was provided by WD to Mitacs, a national organization based in British Columbia that offers research and training programs to the next generation of scientists and entrepreneurs.

The investment will support three internship programs in Western Canada over three years.

The Accelerate and Elevate programs connect Canadian businesses with graduate students to help the companies solve tough business problems and work on leading projects.

The programs enable students to work on the commercialization of new products, technologies and services, which in turn help the business increase its competitiveness.

The Globalink program recruits international students to work on important projects for western Canadian universities. Since the launch of this program three years ago, it has welcomed more than 300 undergraduate students from India, China, Brazil and Mexico to 28 Canadian universities.