Western Economic Diversification Canada
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Preface

As the federal economic development department for Western Canada, Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) develops and supports economic policies, programs and activities that promote economic growth and assists 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 communicates 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 focuses its activities in three program areas:

  • Business Development and Innovation: WD helps small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) 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 to 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.
  • Community Economic Growth: WD helps communities sustain their local economies and adjust to changing economic circumstances through departmental programs and by delivering national initiatives on behalf of the Government of Canada in Western Canada. WD also supports community-based organizations that provide western entrepreneurs with the information, training and loans they need to start and grow their businesses.
  • Policy, Advocacy and Coordination: WD identifies opportunities to strengthen the western Canadian economy and coordinate economic development activities, policies and programs across the West. WD works to build strategic relationships with key decision makers across Canada and works with western Canadian industry on defence-related procurement opportunities.

Over the past year, as a result of broad-based engagement across Western Canada, the department has developed a strategic agenda to help create jobs and economic growth in the region, focusing on the priorities of: Innovation; Defence Procurement; Trade and Investment; Aboriginal Economic Development; and Skills Development and Training.

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.