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.

Current programs

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.

Western Innovation (WINN) Initiative is a 5-year fund to move innovative technologies from the later stages of research and development to the marketplace. It offers repayable loans to western Canadian small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

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.

Past programs

These are recent WD programs that no longer fund new projects. Some projects funded by these programs are still under way.
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.

Legislation

The Western Economic Diversification Act governs budgets and activities. The Act seeks to boost and diversify the western Canadian economy. It also advances the interests of the west when the Government of Canada creates national economic policy and runs its programs.

 

The Act requires the WD Minister to fulfill 3 duties:

  • guide, promote and coordinate federal policies and programs that relate to Western Canada’s economy.
  • lead federal efforts to work closer on economic matters with western provinces, including:
    • provincial governments
    • business
    • labour
    • other public and private groups
  • compile data on all WD’s programs and projects, in order to measure trends and progress