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Results: what we achieved

Program 1.2: Community Economic Growth


Community Economic Growth involves economic development initiatives that support communities to advance their economies, adjust to changing and challenging economic circumstances, and recover from depressed economic circumstances. This is achieved through both direct funding of projects, as well as funding support of the Community Futures (CF) organizations. Additionally, this program assists communities to assess community strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and potential for new economic activity, and to develop and implement community plans. Transfer payments in support of this program are made under the authority of the Western Diversification Program and the Community Futures Program.


WD tracks three indicators to capture the impact of the Community Economic Growth program:

  • SME sales growth;
  • number of communities benefitting from Community Economic Growth projects; and
  • number of communities benefitting from federal public infrastructure investments.

WD met or exceeded its targets for two of the three program performance indicators (see Performance Results table on page 15).

The target for SME sales growth indicator was 12.5 percent and the actual result was 11.2 percent. The target for number of communities benefitting from Community Economic Growth projects was 1,166 and the actual result was 1,609. The variance in communities benefitting from Community Economic Growth projects was due to increased demand from businesses in rural Western Canada for services offered by CFs to start, maintain and grow their businesses.

The target for the number of communities benefitting from federal public infrastructure investments was 235 and the actual result was 76.  The reason for this variance is that infrastructure projects have taken longer to complete than planned due to delays attributed to unfavourable weather conditions, regulatory approvals and tendering processes, shifting results into next fiscal year.

In support of the Government of Canada priority of inclusive growth, the WCBSN partners provided training to over 32,000 participants. WCBSN partners also provided 45,545 business advisory services to businesses in rural and urban areas. In addition, the CFs provided 1,482 loans to rural businesses with a value of $81.9 million that leveraged an additional $80.1 million. The WEIs provided 91 loans to women-owned businesses with a value of $6.7 million that leveraged an additional $5.8 million. WCBSN impacts included 5,147 jobs created, maintained, or expanded through lending. The Canada Business Network provided over 155,606 business information, advisory and training services across Western Canada.

WD continued to support official language minority communities in Western Canada under the Government of Canada’s strategy for official languages: Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages (2013–2018) and spent $0.6 million in support of five ongoing Economic Development Initiative (EDI) projects. Overall, WD leveraged $1.22 of funds from other sources for every dollar it contributed to EDI projects.

In September 2016, the Government of Canada announced the $4.6 million Churchill and Region Economic Development Fund as a response to economic instability facing the Town of Churchill and surrounding region, following a reduction in rail service and closure of the 2016 grain shipping season. The fund is administered by Community Futures Manitoba and will assist the Churchill region to make a successful transition to a diversified and self-sustaining community. The fund is broad in scope and supports projects that promote business development, job creation and local economic growth. To date, the fund has approved $1.9 million in funding for seven projects.

WD continued to support Indigenous economic growth in West Coast energy opportunities and clean energy development by administering seven Strategic Partnerships Initiative (SPI) projects, representing investments of over $7.7 million. The SPI is a whole of government program designed to increase Indigenous Peoples’ participation in economic development opportunities. Three of these projects were completed in 2016–17, resulting in the participation of 64 Indigenous communities, the creation of 32 new partnerships, and 20 jobs created or maintained. Ongoing SPI projects include the BC Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative, which in 2016–17 provided over $1 million in early-stage planning and capacity funds to eight communities pursuing clean energy development.

A 2016–17 analysis of data submitted by CFs regarding their loan clients, compared to similarly sized and located companies contained in Statistics Canada’s database, demonstrated strong performance by CFs[1].

  • Employment Growth: CF-assisted firms grew at a compounded rate of 8.0 percent per year compared to 2.9 percent for non-assisted firms from 2009 to 2014.
  • Sales Growth: CF-assisted firms grew at a compounded rate of 11.2 percent compared to 6.2 percent for non-assisted firms from 2009 to 2014.
  • Firm Longevity: CF-assisted firms exhibited stronger firm longevity than firms in the comparable group, especially in the long run. There was a 66 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.

In support of the Government of Canada infrastructure priority,   2016–17 saw WD complete 76 CIP 150 projects in over 55 centres across Western Canada, contributing to the health and well-being of communities by enhancing local community infrastructure.

WD held a second call for proposals for the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program (CIP 150) and approved 320 projects totalling nearly $46.2 million to support the renovation, expansion, and improvements of existing community infrastructures.

Budget 2016 provided an additional $150 million to Canada’s Regional Development Agencies to deliver this program. WD is responsible for administering the program in Western Canada. The CIP 150 is part of Canada 150 Celebrates, the Government of Canada’s celebration of the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

A key lesson from the CIP 150 is recognizing that small community organizations often require more than one construction season to complete projects and take this into account during performance indicator target setting. Another lesson is to ensure that there is sufficient time to engage with recipients during the defining of project milestones.

Results achieved


Expected results Performance indicators Target Date to achieve target 2016–17 Actual results 2015–16 Actual results 2014–15 Actual results
Western Canadian communities have strong businesses SME sales growth 12.5% March 31, 2017 11.2% 9.9% 10.2%
Western Canadian communities have capacity for socio-economic development Number of communities benefitting from Community Economic Growth projects 1,166 March 31, 2017 1,609 1,468 1,338
Western Canadian communities have the necessary public infrastructure to support economic growth Number of communities benefitting from federal public infrastructure investments 235 March 31, 2017 76 n/a* n/a*

* No results for infrastructure programming were expected for either 2014–15 or 2015-16. The results of WD's work to support community infrastructure through programs delivered on behalf of Infrastructure Canada (e.g., Building Canada Fund) are reported through Infrastructure Canada. The results achieved for 2016–17 represents projects completed under the CIP 150.

Budgetary financial resources (dollars)
Main Estimates
Planned spending
Total authorities
available for use
Actual spending
(authorities used)
(actual minus planned)
57,322,492 57,322,492 85,253,054 74,268,687 16,946,195

Note: Additional funds received for the delivery of CIP 150 and the Churchill and Regional Economic Development Fund.

Human resources (full-time equivalents)
2016–17 Planned 2016–17 Actual 2016–17 Difference (actual minus planned)
38 48 10

Note: Actual FTE utilization is higher than planned as a result of increased activities to support CIP 150.



Based on the latest available Round Seven (2009–14) data provided by the Centre for Special Business Projects, Statistics Canada, July 2017