In 2016–17, Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) will contribute to the Government of Canada’s commitment to spur both inclusive and targeted economic growth, job creation, and broad-based prosperity. WD will deliver on four priorities that are consistent with WD’s mandate’s to develop and diversify the western Canadian economy:
WD will continue to lead a range of activities and deliver programs such as the Western Innovation (WINN) Initiative and the Western Diversification Program (WDP) to foster innovation, support businesses and entrepreneurs, and strengthen western Canadian communities.
To be competitive in the global marketplace and drive growth domestically, western Canadian businesses need to develop and commercialize innovative products and services. Despite Western Canada’s strengths in emerging industries, there are several challenges facing technology developers. Challenges include continued need for capital and highly qualified people and competition from international markets. The Government of Canada has placed an important focus on: 1) a national Innovation Agenda; 2) clean technology; and 3) the accelerated growth of firms with high growth potential.
WD will support the Innovation Agenda and high growth firms through the delivery of Western Innovation Initiative (WINN) and Western Diversification Program (WDP), with a focus on key sectors such as clean technology, and a convenor role for key players across the innovation spectrum.
Western Canada relies heavily on international trade and investment to maintain and improve the standard of living of its citizens. The diversification of both products and markets will be key to western Canadian SMEs' success in international markets. WD will build on Western Canada's competitive advantages through strategic investments. In addition, WD will serve in a convenor and advocacy role to help western businesses increase their exports, expand the range of their trading partners and prepare for and capitalize on new trade agreements.
Indigenous Peoples are Canada's fastest growing and youngest demographic, with sixty percent of Canada's Indigenous population living in Western Canada. Supporting Indigenous business and economic development will create jobs and promote community economic growth. Opportunities for skills development are also crucial to improving labour market participation by Indigenous Peoples given the demand for skilled workers. WD will contribute to this objective by identifying opportunities for economic development for Indigenous Peoples through investments and stakeholder engagement.
WD will advocate for Western Canada's aerospace, defence and marine sectors and connect western Canadian industry with opportunities related to defence procurement in an effort to create jobs and economic growth in Western Canada. The Department will represent Western Canada in the implementation of the Defence Procurement Strategy, including the development and evaluation of Value Proposition and Industrial and Technological Benefits plans for Canadian defence and security procurements. WD will also promote western Canadian SMEs through industry engagement activities, including supplier development that links SMEs to prime contractors, and support the participation of western Canadian industry at strategic trade shows and events.