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January 2015 Issue

Enhancing Economic Development Opportunities in Western Canada

Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) continues to support initiatives that contribute to Western Canada's sustainable and vibrant economy. Many of WD's investments build on Canada's economic advantage and complement the Harper Government's overall economic agenda of creating jobs and economic growth.

Planting Seeds for Development: The Saskatchewan Aboriginal Economic Development & Skills Forum

In partnership with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada, WD held the first Saskatchewan Aboriginal Economic Development and Skills Forum on December 4, 2014, in Saskatoon on Treaty Six territory. The forum aimed to connect economic leaders from Aboriginal communities with the non-profit sector, skills training organizations, and government agencies to foster economic development in Saskatchewan.

Funders discuss project ideas with participants during a path-finding session.

Funders discuss project ideas with participants during a path-finding session.

Over 100 people attended the forum, including representatives from 45 Aboriginal communities and economic development organizations. Presentations covered topics on funding programs available to First Nations and Métis people and communities, skills and training programs, and best practices for economic development.

Rick Stefanowski, a Business Development Officer with the Saskatchewan Indian Equity Foundation (SIEF), "felt the forum was a great opportunity to showcase what we are about." SIEF was one of the first Aboriginal financial institutions in Canada to offer developmental lending to First Nation businesses in Saskatchewan.

Expanding the economic development of First Nations and Métis communities is a key element to building a strong and competitive economy for Western Canada. The event was a good opportunity for participants to network, promote Aboriginal economic development and skills training programs, and discuss ideas that will contribute to a prosperous future for Aboriginal communities and Saskatchewan.

Vancouver Clean-Tech Firm Receives Global Recognition

For the sixth straight year, WD funding recipient Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc. has been named as a leader in the clean-tech industry. The Vancouver-based company was recognized as a finalist in the Global Cleantech 100, a list that features companies that are best positioned to solve tomorrow's clean technology challenges.

This year's competition drew a record 5,995 nominations that were submitted for consideration. The nominations were reviewed by an 84-member expert panel, and narrowed down to 100 successful finalists, which included Ostara.

Ostara was recognized for its work in commercializing a technology that recovers phosphorous and nitrogen from used water streams and converts them into a high value, eco-friendly fertilizer.

Did you Know?

The City of Saskatoon and Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc. officially launched Canada’s first commercial nutrient recovery facility at the Saskatoon Wastewater Treatment Plant on August 14, 2013.

The City of Saskatoon and Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc. officially launched Canada’s first commercial nutrient recovery facility at the Saskatoon Wastewater Treatment Plant on August 14, 2013.
  • The clean technology sector is an important economic driver for the Canadian economy. The sector employs more than 52,000 Canadians, in over 700 companies, in all regions of the country — part of a global supply chain estimated to be worth $10.6 billion.
  • The clean technology industry is expected to total more than $3 trillion by 2020.

Phosphorous management is a significant resource issue with a potentially harmful environmental impact. Ostara's process helps remove phosphorous and nitrogen from municipal and industrial water streams, thus reducing the nutrient management costs of wastewater treatment plants and helps them meet discharge limits.

In June 2014, WD provided repayable funding to Ostara for developing a project that will conduct field trials to validate the performance of their innovative slow-release fertilizer. This initiative will provide growers with sustainable nutrient solutions by reducing fertilizer application rates while maintaining and/or improving crop yields.