Western Economic Diversification Canada
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Organizational Priorities

In 2015–16, WD focused on six organizational priorities as outlined in the 2015–16 Report on Plans and Priorities.ix These key areas provided greater clarity and focus for the Department on creating jobs, promoting economic growth and supporting the Canada's Innovation Agenda while delivering on WD's mandate to develop and diversify the western Canadian economy.

Innovation

Description

Strengthen Western Canada's innovation capacity by investing in projects that will bring new technology-based products, processes and services to market and convening key stakeholders to facilitate discussions on how to strengthen the innovation marketplace and support pre-commercialization opportunities. WD's work will contribute to the Innovation Agenda, including investing in key growth sectors such as clean technology.

Priority Typex

Ongoing

 

Key Supporting Initiatives
Planned Initiatives Start Date End Date Status Link to the Organization's Program(s)
  • Under the WINN Initiative, assist SMEs in Western Canada to move their new and innovative technologies from the later stages of research and development (R&D) to the marketplace.
Ongoing Ongoing On track Business Development and Innovation

Policy, Advocacy and Coordination
  • Invest in market-driven projects that develop and showcase new innovative processes and technologies, and support the innovation ecosystem for SMEs through capacity building.
Ongoing Ongoing On track Business Development and Innovation

Policy, Advocacy and Coordination
  • Act as a convenor of industry, post-secondary institutions, major research facilities and government to facilitate the advancement of innovation policy and identify new innovation models that strengthen the innovation marketplace and support commercialization opportunities.
Ongoing Ongoing On track Business Development and Innovation

Policy, Advocacy and Coordination
Progress Toward the Priority
  • WD's strategic investments under the Innovation priority contribute to the Innovation Agenda.
  • In 2015–16, WD approved $21.0 million in repayable contributions and leveraged $21.8 million for 21 new projects under WINN. This supported western SMEs to move their new and innovative technologies from the later stages of R&D to the marketplace. These projects build upon competitive regional advantages by covering a range of sectors outside traditional areas of strength, including clean technology, information communication technologies, health and life sciences, and value-added manufacturing.
  • WINN invested in market-driven projects that developed and showcased new innovative processes and technologies, supporting the innovation ecosystem for SMEs through capacity building.
  • WD also approved 22 new WDP projects with $27.6 million in departmental funding and $35.4 million in leveraged funding for not-for-profit organizations to promote technology commercialization and innovation capacity building in Western Canada.
  • Twelve of the approved WDP and WINN projects supported the development and adoption of clean technology under the Innovation priority.
  • Projects under the Innovation priority reported $7.7 million in sales tied to the knowledge- based product, process, service or technology commercialized, 135 highly qualified personnel were trained and 82 highly qualified personnel jobs were created.
  • WD signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Sustainable Development Technology Canada to provide a platform for coordinating both organizations' efforts in developing a clean technology sector in Western Canada.
  • WD acted as a convenor of industry, post-secondary institutions, major research facilities and government to facilitate the advancement of innovation policy and identify new innovation models that strengthen the innovation marketplace and support commercialization opportunities.
  • WD participated in the BCTECH Summit held in January 2016 to enhance access to capital capacity in Western Canada. The Department shared a co-branded booth space with other federal departments to engage with key sector stakeholders and to discuss the importance of financing new start-ups.
  • WD worked with other federal departments to coordinate the Government of Canada's participation in events and activities related to the GLOBE 2016 International Conference and Innovation Expo, a global clean technology conference.
  • WD undertook stakeholder and partner engagement in pursuit of innovation objectives, including the BAE Systems Innovation Tour, Canadian Energy Technology Forum, COSIA 2015 Conference, Banff Venture Forum, Calgary TechRev Innovators 2015 and the Canadian Aerospace Summit.

Skills Development and Training

Description

Support market-driven skills development, including project funding to support skills training, and facilitate the development of partnerships between industry and organizations that deliver post-secondary training to generate sustainable, long-term jobs. This includes improving workers' access to high quality job training that provides western Canadians with pathways to good careers.

Priority Typex

Previously committed to

Key Supporting Initiatives
Planned Initiatives Start Date End Date Status Link to the Organization's Program(s)
  • Facilitate opportunities that bring together industry and organizations that deliver post-secondary training to explore partnerships and increase training capacity.
Ongoing Ongoing On track Business Development and Innovation

Community Economic Growth

Policy, Advocacy and Coordination
  • Support skills development and training projects focused on increasing the availability of equipment and implementing on-site training programs.
Ongoing Ongoing On track Business Development and Innovation

Community Economic Growth

Policy, Advocacy and Coordination
Progress Toward the Priority
  • In 2015–16, WD approved $8.7 million and leveraged $26.9 million for 11 new WDP projects to increase training capacity of organizations that deliver post-secondary training; enhance partnerships between industry and organizations that deliver post-secondary training; implement on-site training programs; and encourage the development and adoption of innovative business processes and practices.
  • Projects under this priority reported 131 skilled workers hired as a result of training or skills certification and 310 participants trained in a skills shortage area.
  • WD continued to lead the Skills Development and Training Community of Interest with Prairie Federal Council members to facilitate senior level information sharing, provide the opportunity to build awareness of departmental priorities and programming and further cooperation through in-depth discussions of key files, related issues and areas of potential collaboration.
  • The Interdepartmental Skills Development and Training Community of Interest collated program and service offering packages, project information and identified topics for future collaboration between participating departments and organizations.

Indigenous Economic Growth

Description

Engage and work with Indigenous entrepreneurs and SMEs to identify opportunities for economic and skills development for Indigenous Peoples and communities.

Priority Typex

Previously committed to

Key Supporting Initiatives
Planned Initiatives Start Date End Date Status Link to the Organization's Program(s)
  • Engage Indigenous Peoples across the West and key partners, including Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, to identify opportunities for collaborative investment in support of economic development, such as strengthening Indigenous business development and entrepreneurship.
Ongoing Ongoing On track Business Development and Innovation

Community Economic Growth

Policy, Advocacy and Coordination
  • Work with Indigenous Peoples across the West to partner with industry, other government departments, post-secondary institutions and other organizations to increase opportunities for Indigenous skills development, particularly in the natural resource sector.
Ongoing Ongoing On track Business Development and Innovation

Community Economic Growth

Policy, Advocacy and Coordination
  • Provide funding to the Aboriginal Business Services Network and Aboriginal Community Futures organizations across Western Canada to enhance access to business information, services and training.
Ongoing Ongoing On track Business Development and Innovation

Community Economic Growth

Policy, Advocacy and Coordination
Progress Toward the Priority
  • In 2015–16, WD approved $2.5 million and leveraged $8.5 million for four new WDP projects to promote Indigenous economic growth. In addition, WD continues to administer six Strategic Partnerships Initiative (SPI) projects, representing an investment of over $4.0 million in SPI funding. This portfolio of projects will increase business and skills development, training and employment opportunities for Indigenous Peoples.
  • Another $4.0 million of SPI funding was approved to deliver the British Columbia Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative (BC ICEI) in partnership with New Relationship Trust. The BC ICEI will provide pathfinding services, early stage funding, and facilitate new partnerships for Indigenous clean energy and energy efficiency projects in BC. An Advisory Committee of federal, provincial, Indigenous and industry leaders has been established to guide the initiative. It is anticipated that over the three year initiative, the BC ICEI will increase the capacity of Indigenous communities in BC by advancing up to 20 Indigenous led clean energy projects, including in remote and off-grid communities, and attracting up to $5 million in direct investment.
  • Projects under this priority reported 68 skilled workers hired as a result of training or skills certification and 14 businesses created, maintained or expanded through business or capital services.
  • WD, in partnership with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, hosted the Saskatchewan Aboriginal Economic Development Forum on December 8, 2015 in Saskatoon. The forum connected approximately 140 Indigenous economic leaders and businesses with procurement opportunities with the Federal Government, Provincial Crown Corporations and the large Saskatchewan-based mining and construction companies.
  • WD led the establishment of a Canada-BC Aboriginal Business Development Committee to coordinate programs and services supporting Indigenous business development. Initial efforts have focused on liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplier growth and advancement of a research project with the First Nations LNG Alliance.
  • WD continued to provide $5.3 million to support the Aboriginal Business Service Network and 13 Aboriginal Community Futures, which provide loans and related support services to Indigenous businesses.

Trade and Investment

Description

Enhance SME participation in international business, particularly in emerging markets. This work will support western Canadian businesses to increase their exports, expand the range of their trading partners, and adjust to, take advantage of, and prepare for, the implementation of new trade agreements.

Priority Typex

Ongoing

Key Supporting Initiatives
Planned Initiatives Start Date End Date Status Link to the Organization's Program(s)
  • Assist western SMEs engaging in international business and increase their penetration in international markets, both in North America and emerging markets.
Ongoing Ongoing On track Business Development and Innovation

 

Policy, Advocacy and Coordination

  • Improve trade corridors of importance to Western Canada to support the flow of goods, services and people into and out of Western Canada.
Ongoing Ongoing On track Business Development and Innovation

 

Policy, Advocacy and Coordination

  • Raise awareness of Western Canada's key sectors, strengths and capabilities in international markets, especially emerging markets, and attract foreign investment to the region.
Ongoing Ongoing On track Business Development and Innovation

 

Policy, Advocacy and Coordination

Progress Toward the Priority
  • In 2015–16, WD approved $11.0 million and leveraged $16.8 million for 14 new trade and investment projects. WD worked closely with Global Affairs Canada, Agriculture and Agri- Food Canada, Export Development Corporation and other partners to ensure these projects aligned closely with Government of Canada and departmental priorities.
  • Projects under the Trade and Investment priority reported $398 million in international business activity facilitated by WD, $643 million in international business leads generated through missions, events, and marketing initiatives, and 315 western SMEs and other organizations pursued a trade, investment, international research and development or tourism opportunity.
  • WD approved the establishment of a "single-window" Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) Point at Regina's Global Transportation Hub. In the West, there are now four FTZ Points in Edmonton, Calgary, Regina and Winnipeg. The FTZ Points facilitate the coordination of government programs and services related to international trade.
  • WD continued to strengthen our engagement with Global Affairs Canada and other key federal departments and agencies involved in trade and investment in relation to Canada's new free trade agreements and the CanExport program. In addition, WD contributed to the development of a new Canadian Trade and Export Strategy.

Federal Defence Procurement

Description

Maximize the ability of western SMEs to capitalize on federal defence procurement opportunities. This will enhance job creation and economic growth in Western Canada.

Priority Typex

Previously committed to

Key Supporting Initiatives
Planned Initiatives Start Date End Date Status Link to the Organization's Program(s)
  • Work as a business facilitator to inform western Canadian stakeholders of federal defence procurement and what is required to successfully engage and maximize participation in global supply chains of prime contractors and key partners.
Ongoing Ongoing On track Policy, Advocacy and Coordination

Business Development and Innovation
  • Strengthen the western Canadian aerospace, defence and marine sectors by identifying strategic investments that support innovation, international competitiveness & growth.
Ongoing Ongoing On track Policy, Advocacy and Coordination

Business Development and Innovation
  • Support collaborative trade and investment opportunities, including sustained participation at international events and trade missions in the aerospace, defence and marine sectors as part of a unified Canadian presence.
Ongoing Ongoing On track Policy, Advocacy and Coordination

Business Development and Innovation
  • Represent western interests to decision makers in the development of national policies and strategies relating to the federal procurement process, particularly the federal Defence Procurement Strategy, and the aerospace, defence and marine sectors.
Ongoing Ongoing On track Policy, Advocacy and Coordination

Business Development and Innovation
Progress Toward the Priority
  • In 2015–16, WD approved seven defence projects with $3.5 million in departmental funding and $4.8 million in leveraged funding.xi These projects will increase global awareness of Western Canada's aerospace, defence, and marine sectors; inform western Canadian stakeholders about defence procurement opportunities; and support innovation, international competitiveness and growth within the aerospace, defence, and marine sectors in Western Canada.
  • Projects under the Federal Defence Procurement priority reported that $76.0 million in international business leads were generated through missions, events and marketing initiatives and 66 western SMEs or other organizations participated in an international business mission event, or marketing initiative.
  • WD worked as a business facilitator to inform western Canadian stakeholders of federal defence procurement and what is required to successfully engage and maximize participation in global supply chains of prime contractors and key partners. This included preparing detailed supplier lists and delivering tours for bidders. WD also hosted the Western Innovation Forum in April 2015 that attracted over 600 participants from over 350 organizations to connect them with innovation-driven investment, partnership and business opportunities.
  • WD represented western interests to decision makers in the development of national policies and strategies relating to the federal procurement process, particularly the federal Defence Procurement Strategy. This included participating on federal Evaluation Committees that reviewed and assessed the Industrial and Technological Benefits plans and rated and weighted Value Proposition proposals under which bidders on defence procurement projects compete on the basis of economic benefits to Canada.
  • WD supported collaborative trade and investment opportunities for Western Canada as part of a unified Canadian presence at international tradeshows including the International Paris Air Show, Defence Security and Equipment International in 2015 and the 2016 Singapore Air Show.

 

Revitalization of the Western Canada Business Services Network (WCBSN)

Description

Ensure WCBSN members are maximizing their economic impact in their communities and are aligned with Government of Canada and WD priorities.

Priority Typex

Previously committed to

Key Supporting Initiatives
Planned Initiatives Start Date End Date Status Link to the Organization's Program(s)
  • Continue to work with WCBSN members to strengthen the structures, governance, accountability and performance management needed to provide value-added offerings.
April 2015 March 2016 Completed Business Development and Innovation

 

Community Economic Growth

  • Work with the WCBSN to enhance its support and promotion of Government of Canada priorities and the implementation of activities that support sustainable economic growth.
April 2015 March 2016 Completed Business Development and Innovation

Community Economic Growth
Progress Toward the Priority
  • As part of the WCBSN Revitalization initiative, by the end of 2015–16, WD completed revitalization efforts to strengthen governance structures, accountability and reporting frameworks of Community Futures (CF), Women's Enterprise Initiative (WEI) and Francophone Economic Development Organizations (FEDO). Specifically, performance indicators were streamlined, common indicators were developed and the reporting burden for high performing organizations was reduced. FEDOs also transitioned to newly updated three-year contribution agreements.
  • A review was undertaken of the Aboriginal Business Service Network (ABSN) and Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program (EDP) organizations in 2015–16 which involved consultations with stakeholders. The revitalization of the ABSN will be completed in 2016-17 with EDP efforts to be finalized in 2017–18.
  • Following recommendations made in the 2014 evaluation of the Canada Business Network (CBN), the Department also undertook consultations with stakeholders from all CBN organizations and provincial representatives to enhance the delivery of the CBN.
  • In 2015–16, WD accomplished significant systems development with the creation and roll- out of the WD Web portal and the enhancements made to WD's Client Relationship Management system. These systems support the capture of targets and results data and allow for the electronic submission of target and reporting data directly from CFs, WEIs and FEDOs.
  • In support of Government of Canada priorities, including sustainable economic growth, WCBSN partners, excluding the CBN, provided training to 28,681 participants. They also provided 46,312 business advisory services to SMEs in rural and urban areas. In addition, the CFs provided 1,463 loans with a value of $76.4 million that leveraged an additional $88.2 million. The WEIsxii provided 116 loans with a value of $9.6 million that leveraged an additional $11.2 million. WCBSN impacts included 5,075 jobs created or maintained through lending.
  • The CBN provided over 69,974 business information services across Western Canada.

For more information on organizational priorities, see the Ministers' mandate letters.xiii