Western Economic Diversification Canada
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Preface

A department of the Government of Canada, Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) was established in 1987 under the provisions of the Western Economic Diversification Act, and mandated to promote the development and diversification of the economy of Western Canada and to advance the interests of the West in national economic policy, program and project development and implementation. This broad mandate allows the department to implement tailored programs and initiatives to assist western Canadians create strong, competitive and innovative businesses and communities.

As the federal economic development department for Western Canada, WD develops and supports economic policies, programs and activities that promote economic growth and assist Western Canada in responding to the economic challenges and opportunities it faces.

With offices in each western province and its headquarters in Edmonton, WD provides a strong federal presence in the economic development of the West. Its western base has enabled the department to develop an understanding of Western Canada and foster extensive partnerships with business and community organizations, research and academic institutions, as well as provincial and municipal governments.

These connections enable the department to identify and support economic opportunities in the West and to leverage its investments to benefit the western Canadian economy. WD’s strong ties to Ottawa, and the federal government across Canada, allow the department to communicate western perspectives to national economic policy and program decision-makers, working within the federal system to ensure that western interests and perspectives are considered in federal decision making.

WD programs strengthen:

  • Business Development and Innovation: WD helps small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) develop and grow, create jobs, expand their markets, increase their exports, and become more innovative and productive. The department assists SMEs with international business engagement and works to attract investment to the region, as well as assist western Canadian SMEs access opportunities linked to government procurement. Further, WD promotes the development and growth of the knowledge-based economy by building innovation capacity and supporting the commercialization of new knowledge-based products, processes and services.  Overall, the department’s investments have contributed to the strengthening of Western Canada’s economy and will provide the foundation for future economic diversification and growth.
     
  • Community Economic Growth: WD helps rural communities sustain their local economies, adjust to changing economic circumstances and invest in public infrastructure.  Community Futures receive operating funds to provide western entrepreneurs with the information, training and business loans they need to start and grow their business.
     
  • Policy, Advocacy and Coordination: WD engages in activities that strengthen the western Canadian economy by promoting access to economic opportunities for Western Canada. Primarily, WD works to build strategic relationships with key decision makers across Canada and internationally, coordinates economic development activities, policies and programs across the West, and ensures western Canadian SMEs are positioned to compete for federal procurement contracts with industrial and regional benefit obligations. WD pursues policies and programs that strengthen the western Canadian economy.

WD also delivers national initiatives on behalf of the Government of Canada in Western Canada. These have included the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund to upgrade and expand western Canadian infrastructure, the Economic Development Initiative aimed at supporting businesses and economic development in western Canadian Francophone communities, as well as programs within the Economic Action Plan. WD’s flexibility and ability to implement programs such as these enables it to respond quickly to the priorities and needs of the West.

To ensure that its programs have the greatest impact on the West, the department will continue to focus on a pan-western approach in strategic areas—business productivity and growth, trade and investment, technology commercialization, and advancing the interests of Western Canada.

Introduction

Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) is committed to both the spirit and the intent of the Access to Information Act (hereinafter referred to as the “Act”), to ensure transparency and accountability within the department.

The Act extends the present laws of Canada to provide all Canadian citizens, permanent residents and corporations present in Canada with a right of access to any record under the control of a government institution that is not of a personal nature. In accordance with the principles that government information should be available to the public, this access to information is balanced against the legitimate need to protect sensitive information and permit effective functioning of government. Necessary exceptions should be limited and specific.

Further, the Act complements, but does not replace, other procedures for obtaining government information, and is not intended to limit access to government information normally available to the public upon request.

This report describes how Western Economic Diversification Canada administered the Access to Information Act during fiscal year 2012–2013, and fulfills the requirements under Section 72 that every government institution must prepare an annual report on the administration of this Act each fiscal year and ensure it is tabled in Parliament.

WD will publish its Annual Report to Parliament on its public web site (www.wd-deo.gc.ca) once it has been tabled in the House of Commons and Senate.