Programs to grow Western Canada's economy
Western Economic Diversification (WD) Canada's programs offer grants and loans to companies, not-for-profits and communities. These funds help grow Western Canada's economy and improve the quality of life for all western Canadians.
WD delivers many of these programs directly. Others are run by organizations funded through WD. Pages linked below explain who is eligible and how to apply.
Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) is a national program, delivered in Western Canada by WD. It fuels economic growth through innovation, to create more well-paying jobs for Canadians. It has two streams:
- The Business Scale-up and Productivity (BSP) program stream supports businesses at various stages of development, including high-growth firms, wanting to accelerate their growth, scale-up, and be more productive and competitive in both domestic and global markets. It offers interest-free funding to western Canadian companies.
- The Regional Innovation Ecosystems (RIE) program stream aims to create, grow and nurture inclusive regional ecosystems that support business needs throughout the innovation continuum. It fosters an entrepreneurial environment conducive to innovation, growth and competitiveness.
Western Diversification Program (WDP) is the main program WD uses to boost Western Canada's economy. WD makes strategic investments in projects that support innovation, business development or community economic growth. Funds support not-for-profit organizations, such as:
- research institutes
- industry associations
- universities and colleges
- Indigenous organizations
Economic Development Initiative will invest $3.2 million in the West over 5 years. This program supports sustainable economic growth in Western Canada's Francophone communities.
Western Canada Business Service Network is a group of independent organizations that WD funds. It provides services to help create and build small businesses across the West.
Strategic Partnerships Initiative (SPI) is a federal program to boost Indigenous participation in economic growth. Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada oversees SPI. WD is one of 13 federal departments who help choose the investments.
Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, aims to double the number of women-owned businesses by 2025. We are helping women entrepreneurs access capital, training and other vital resources.
Canadian Coal Transition Initiative helps communities and workers affected by Canada’s move to a low-carbon economy in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Atlantic Canada.
Strategic Innovation Fund is not a WD-led program, but is ideal for projects that need more funding than WD-led programs provide. It offers repayable and non-repayable contributions of over $10 million to firms and business-led collaborations across all industrial and technology sectors. The fund’s five streams are:
- R&D and commercialization
- Firm expansion and growth
- Investment attraction and reinvestment
- Collaborative technology development and demonstration
- National ecosystems
These are recent WD programs that no longer fund new projects. Some projects funded by these programs are still under way.
Canadian Experiences Fund supported expansion of five tourism niches:
- winter and shoulder-season
- inclusiveness, especially for the LGBTQ2 community
- rural and remote communities
- farm-to-table, also known as culinary tourism
Steel and Aluminum Initiative supported SMEs operating within Canadian steel and aluminum supply chains, helping them to respond to global market dynamics that impact their competitiveness.
Western Innovation (WINN) Initiative was a 5-year fund to move innovative technologies from the later stages of research and development to the marketplace. It offered repayable loans to western Canadian small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program was a federal program that invested in community infrastructure across the country. In Western Canada, WD delivered CIP 150. The program ended on March 31, 2018.
Drywall Support Program responded to the May 2016 wildfires in northern Alberta. It helped drywall contractors and builders, as well as residents of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo whose homes were severely damaged or destroyed by fire. The program ended on June 13, 2017.
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