Western Economic Diversification Canada
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Sub-program 1.2.3: Community Futures Program


The CF Program[xxi] builds the capacity of rural communities to increase their economic activities by aiding the development and implementation of local solutions to local problems. This sub-program provides financial support to CF organizations to deliver a range of small business services, provide repayable financing to new and existing enterprises, and support development of strategic plans and community economic development projects to address community needs. Transfer payments in support of this sub-program are made under the authority of the CF Program.


Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)
Planned Spending
Actual Spending
(actual minus planned)
30,011,440 28,665,500 (1,345,940)


Human Resources (FTEs)
(actual minus planned)
13 20 7

Note: Actual FTE utilization is higher than planned as a result of increased activities in support of CF Revitalization activities.


Performance Results
Expected Result Performance Indicators Targets Actual Results
Strong rural community strategic planning and implementation Value of community-based projects $13 million $24 million
Rural access to business development services Number of businesses created,  maintained  or expanded through business services 940 1,460
Rural access to capital and leveraged capital Value of loans $62 million $77.5 million


Performance Analysis and Lessons Learned

WD tracks three indicators to capture the impact of the Community Futures (CF) sub-program: value of community-based projects; number of businesses created, maintained or expanded through business services; and value of loans.

WD exceeded its targets for all three performance indicators related to the CF sub-program (see Performance Results table above). The significant over-achievement of the indicator on the value of community based projects is attributed to communities leveraging greater resources than anticipated in support of local projects. The variance in the number of businesses created, maintained or expanded through the businesses services indicator was due to a lower target based on prior year trends, resulting in the number of services being higher than anticipated.  The high achievement of the indicator on rural access to capital, as measured by the value of loans, over $77 million, is an indication of the strong impact of CFs in rural communities across the West and reflects progress made as a result of CF Revitalization efforts.

Over the past year, WD has engaged in several activities to implement CF Revitalization decisions to enhance the effectiveness of the CF program.  This has resulted in issuing new three-year Contribution Agreements to the vast majority of the western Canadian CFs.  The intent is a revitalized CF network that continues to be focused on ensuring activities which maximize the economic impact of CF members in Western Canada and align with Government of Canada and WD priorities.

A 2014–15 analysis[xxii] of data submitted by CFs regarding their clients, compared to similarly sized and located companies contained in Statistics Canada's database, revealed strong performance by CFs in prior years:

  • Employment Growth - In terms of employment, CF assisted firms grew at a compounded rate of 7.92 percent per year compared to 0.93 percent for non-assisted firms from 2007 to 2012.
  • Sales Growth - In terms of sales, CF assisted firms grew at a compounded rate of 10.23 percent compared to 2.76 percent for non-assisted firms from 2007 to 2012.
  • Firm Longevity - CF assisted firms exhibited stronger firm longevity than those firms in the comparable group, especially in the long run. There was a 71 percent survival rate after five years for CF assisted businesses versus 46 percent for non-assisted.
  • Industry Diversification - CF organizations are lending to a slightly less diversified client base than the comparable group.