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Prairie Diagnostic Services funding announcement

April 10, 2013
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Notes for an address by

The Honourable Lynne Yelich
Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification

Funding Announcement

Corresponding Documents: News Release | Photo Gallery

Check Against Delivery

Thank you, Marilyn.

I’d like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the other speakers joining me here today:

  • Dr. Harold Fast (Chairperson, Board of Directors, Prairie Diagnostic Services), and
  • Dr. Murray Jelinski (Professor and Alberta Chair in Beef Cattle Health and Production Medicine).

Honoured guests, ladies and gentlemen, good morning.

It is a pleasure to be here today at Prairie Diagnostic Services and the Western College of Veterinary Medicine on behalf of the Harper Government.

Thank you for hosting us.

As a key component of Canada's agriculture sector, the meat industry is the largest segment of Canada's food processing industry.

It represents 10 per cent of Canada's agri-food exports, and employs more than 67,000 Canadians . It is also one of Canada's leading manufacturing sectors, with annual sales of over $21 billion. By enabling this key sector to continue to succeed and thrive in a globally competitive environment, we can help ensure it continues to contribute to a stronger and more diverse western Canadian economy.

That is why I am pleased to announce today that our Government, through the Western Diversification Program (WDP), is investing almost $585,000 in support of Prairie Diagnostic Services, or PDS. This funding will allow PDS to purchase specialized equipment to grow its diagnostic services, which will help expand the lab’s molecular biology testing techniques. These techniques detect bacteria, such as e-coli and listeria, and viruses, such as avian Influenza A. This kind of testing is becoming increasingly important in the early diagnosis of serious diseases, such as avian and swine influenza.

The new equipment will also allow PDS to develop tests that are not currently available in Western Canada. By increasing its diagnostic capabilities, Prairie Diagnostic Services will be better equipped to help producer groups in Western Canada meet international regulatory standards. Our exporters will be able to maintain their positions in existing markets, and access new ones with confidence.

Finally, the new equipment and process improvements will help PDS strive for its goal of becoming a regional centre of excellence for diagnostic testing in Western Canada.

Our Government recognizes that Canada’s economic competitiveness increasingly depends on knowledge and innovation. Today’s announcement builds on WD’s 2009 investment to expand the diagnostic facilities and the large animal clinic here at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine. Since 2006, our Government has provided more than $9 billion to support science, technology, and business innovation . This funding has helped Canada maintain its place as a world leader in postsecondary research, and to create the knowledge and highly-skilled workforce that businesses require to innovate and grow.

Economic Action Plan 2013 will build on this strong foundation, helping to position Canada for sustainable, long-term economic prosperity and a higher quality of life for Canadians. This is what our investment in Prairie Diagnostic Services will achieve.

I would like to thank the PDS for its work on this initiative. Our partnership to expand animal health testing capacity is an important step towards strengthening the export market for Saskatchewan and western Canadian producers.

I look forward to hearing about the future benefits that will be created as a result of this project. By continuing to promote new economic opportunities, WD is helping to create jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity.

Projects like this are vital to building a stronger West for a stronger Canada.

Thank you. Merci.