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2017-2018 Review (Part VII) on Official Languages

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Renseignements de base

Prepared by:

Préparé par :

Departmental OL Team/Équipe ministérielle chargée des LO

Institution's Name:

Nom de l'institution :

Western Economic Diversification Canada/Diversification de l'économie de l'Ouest Canada

Institution's Code:

Code de l'institution :


Minister responsible:

Ministre responsable :

Navdeep Singh Bains

Deputy Head:

Administrateur général :

Dylan Jones

Person responsible for official languages (Parts IV, V and VI of the Official Languages Act (OLA)):

Personne responsable des langues officielles (parties IV, V et VI de la Loi sur les langues officielles (LLO)) :

Carolyn Veitch

Principal HR Advisor

Conseillère principale en RH

National coordinator or contact person responsible for the implementation of section 41 (Part VII) of the OLA

Coordonnateur national ou de la personne-ressource responsable de la mise en œuvre de l'article 41 (partie VII) de la LLO :


Regional contact person(s) for section 41 of the OLA (if applicable):

Personne(s)-ressource(s) en région pour l'article 41 de la LLO (le cas échéant) :

Stephen Lamoureux / Linh Trinh

Manager, Program / Senior Business Officer

Gestionnaire, Programmes / Agente principale de développement économique


1) If your institution had to highlight three or more key initiatives in relation to the development of official language minority communities (OLMCs), what would those be?


Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) actively supports the development of official language minority communities (OLMCs) through three key initiatives:

  1. Administering the Economic Development Initiative (EDI);
  2. Funding support to the Francophone Economic Development Organizations (FEDOs); and,
  3. Examining all proposed projects under an "Official Language Lens" (OL Lens).

a) Describe

1) The EDI invests in economic development projects that foster economic diversification, business development, innovation, partnerships and increased support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in OLMCs across Western Canada.

2) The FEDOs, one in each of the western provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba), deliver services to francophone communities such as community strategic planning; community-based projects; business advisory services, training and entrepreneurship services; and, support projects targeting specific OLMC priorities. The FEDOs are members of WD's Western Canada Business Services Network and include:

3) The OL Lens is a tool in WD's due diligence process requiring business officers to consider official languages obligations in all project applications they review. The lens helps determine if the benefits of the project might be extended to the francophone community through minor adjustments to the way in which the project is to be implemented.

b) Tangible Impacts

1) In 2017-2018 under the EDI , WD distributed over $730,000 for nine projects:

Two examples of WD projects that had tangible impacts on the development of OLMCs are included here:

First, On Screen Manitoba benefitted from a contribution of $750,000 over three years  under the EDI to support the commercialization of Francophone projects within Canada and abroad. It also allows for the higher visibility of Francophone SMEs and cultural entrepreneurs, and the creation of strategic partnerships between organizations. The project will generate $4 million in international sales through five missions, which in turn will benefit six western SMEs. Thanks to WD's support, On Screen Manitoba was able to implement a number of activities right away, including:

Second, the Université de Saint-Boniface benefitted from an investment of $301,200 from WD over three years to develop and digitize eight courses for a Post Baccalaureat Diploma related to Inclusive Education. This new program was developed in collaboration with specialists from the West for distance delivery through the Consortium des établissements universitaires de l'Ouest website [Consortium of Universities in the West] to provide post-secondary students with access to education. The four members of the Consortium are the Bureau des affaires francophones et francophiles, Simon Fraser University; the Faculté Saint-Jean, University of Alberta; the Institut Français, University of Regina, and the Université de Saint-Boniface. The on-line program was launched in September 2017 and the first course was "EDUA 5601 Introduction à l'éducation inclusive", to which 23 students registered. Students completed this first six-credit course in April 2018. The Université de Saint-Boniface intends to offer the second on-line course in spring 2018. The application period for the second course began on March 20, and 18 students are already registered. In January 2018, a second set of advertising cards and letters were mailed to 600 Francophone and Immersion schools in Western Canada to promote the Inclusive Education on-line program.

2) WD continues its important partnership with the four FEDOs in Western Canada, including providing operating funds to the FEDOs, valued at $545,000 each year per FEDO, for a total of $2.18 million annually. The FEDOs deliver program projects for OLMCs, such as projects under the EDI, but they also share economic expertise within OLMCs to help francophone entrepreneurs increase their capacity to be successful in the marketplace.

In 2017-2018, the FEDOs set the following performance targets and, as of December 31, 2017, they have exceeded most, or are on target to reach their goals:

Dollar amount invested in new and ongoing community-based projects: $920,000
Dollar amount leveraged from new and ongoing community-based projects: $4,730,000
Number of business advisory services: 1870
Number of business information services: 2450
Number of business training session participants: 870
Number of business training sessions delivered: 52
Number of referrals to other service providers: 302
Number of businesses created, maintained or expanded through business services: 335

WD would also like to highlight two notable successes in Manitoba from our support to the Conseil de développement économique du Manitoba (CDEM) and the Conseil de développement économique de l'Alberta (CDEA):

3) Although only two of 781 projects were identified as having the potential to enhance the vitality of the OLMCs, many Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program (CIP 150) projects that had been assessed using the OL Lens in 2016-17 were implemented in 2017-18 and had positive impacts for the OLMCs. Please refer to Question 4 (Canada 150) for examples of specific CIP 150 projects that were funded by WD.

c) Success Factors

1) EDI success factors:

Whereas other WD programs target the western economy at large, the EDI is focused on francophone communities within British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Therefore, in addition to broader eligibility requirements, there are unique considerations for a project to qualify for EDI funds.

In 2017-2018, the projects under the EDI were assessed against eligibility criteria specifically tailored to ensure that they generate concrete, direct and measurable impacts for western OLMCs, and that they respond to their economic development needs and priorities.

Further, WD is a member of the EDI Partners committee, comprised of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) and other Regional Development Agencies (RDAs). This committee provides a platform to discuss all aspects of delivering the initiative including research needs, stakeholder consultations and performance of the initiative. With respect to performance monitoring, EDI Partners have a performance measurement strategy for the initiative and prepare annual performance reports for Heritage Canada to fulfill reporting requirements of the Roadmap.

2) FEDO success factors:

The FEDOs have excellent reputations in terms of supporting the economic development of OLMCs. Canadians see FEDOs as an example of how francophone economic development and cooperation can be accomplished. While their priorities are regional, the FEDOs are also committed to the national agenda led by the Réseau de développement économique et d'employabilité (RDEE) in Ottawa, of which they are members.

As an example of this reach, Manitoba's FEDO visited a number of Francophone West-African countries and promoted Manitoba as an immigration destination with a regional economy ripe for investment. A trade conference planned in Manitoba in May 2018 will bring together approximately 100 Manitoba SME exporters and trade representatives from six Francophone Western-African countries. The conference aims to increase trade in general, along with immigration and commercial attraction to Manitoba's bilingual municipalities and elsewhere in the province.

Another FEDO example that benefitted from WD's support is the Femmes d'affaires en mouvement initiative from the Société de développement économique (SDÉ) de la Colombie-Britannique. The main purpose of this initiative is to forge links between female entrepreneurs to foster exchanges, develop their skills, and contribute to economic development.

Each month, guided by experts, members take part in learning workshops where the environment conducive to dialogue not only encourages the sharing of members' personal experiences, but also promotes business connections, networking and expansion. Women also have the opportunity to participate in a mentoring program developed in partnership with Women's Enterprise Center.

Each year, the SDÉ host several events as part of their Femmes d'affaires en mouvement initiative. Although it is done on an annual basis, it is important to note that this year, there were more than 280 members, and this number is still growing.

With the support of their sisters, women entrepreneurs set the stage for a prolific community of business women in British Columbia.

3) OL Lens success factors:

Although WD has been very successful when applying the OL Lens to the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program (CIP 150) (see details below), WD acknowledges that there is room for improvement with respect to the Western Diversification Program (WDP). The WDP is the main program through which the Department makes strategic investments in initiatives with not-for-profit organizations that enhance and strengthen the economy of Western Canada.

As a result, WD is looking at ways to improve training for program officers on OL requirements in 2018-2019. Going forward, the Department should be able to better identify opportunities to extend the benefits of projects to the francophone community using the OL Lens.

2) If your institution had to highlight three or more key initiatives in relation to the promotion of English and French in Canadian society, what would those be? (Please do not confuse with obligations related to Parts IV and V)

Through key initiatives described in question 1 (development of OLMCs), WD also actively promotes English and French in Canadian society:

  1. The Economic Development Initiative (EDI);
  2. Funding support to the Francophone Economic Development Organizations (FEDOs);
  3. The OL Lens.

a) Describe

  1. The EDI funds economic development projects that foster economic diversification, business development, innovation, partnerships and increased support for small and medium-sized enterprises in OLMCs in Western Canada.
  2. The FEDOs deliver services to francophone communities such as community strategic planning; community-based projects; business advisory, training and entrepreneurship services, and support projects targeting specific OLMC priorities.
  3. The OL Lens is a tool in WD's due diligence process requiring business officers to consider official languages obligations in all project applications they review.

b) Tangible Impacts

1) Through EDI:

Trails of 1885: The Trails of 1885 Association was created in 2007 to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the North-West Resistance in 2010. The Association has a membership of over 60 organizations from Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, including provincial destination marketing organizations and national historic sites.

In May 2017, the Government of Canada, through WD, announced an investment of $142,000 towards the Trails of 1885 Association Inc. to launch a new website highlighting Francophone and Indigenous cultural centres and historical sites in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta. This project was funded by WD through EDI as part of the Roadmap for Canada's Official Languages: 2013-2018: Education, Immigration and Communities.

The federal government commitment will ensure the vitality of bilingualism across Canada, enhance the strength of OLMCs, and promote the importance and benefits of our two official languages to our national identity.

Entreprises Riel: Entreprises Riel is an economic development, destination marketing, and tourism product development agency that promotes the benefit of the French language in business and tourism in the City of Winnipeg's Riel district (St. Boniface, St. Norbert and St. Vital) in Manitoba.

Having limited resources, Entreprises Riel focuses its efforts on priority projects, many of which are undertaken by entering into partnerships with government, private sector and community organizations.

With $25,000 in support from EDI, Entreprises Riel undertook to develop a coherent presentation to promote Francophone and Métis tourism in Manitoba. This presentation, in the form of a promotional film, will be used as a theme to develop other marketing tools, as well as tourism activities within the community. The unique story of the Métis of the Red River, Louis Riel and the Francophone community will be the basis of this promotional tool.

The project is expected to increase Francophone and Métis participation to the western economy, especially in the area of tourism. Increased community capacity, jobs and growth is forecasted through new tourism attraction, as well as new tourism product development to match the new narrative. Direct indicators will include 14 communities benefiting from this project and the development of a strategic plan to reposition Francophone and Métis cultural tourism in Manitoba.

2) Through support to FEDOs:

Every year, the FEDO of Manitoba and its partners organize "La Fosse aux lions" (Dragon's Den equivalent), a tailor-made competition to encourage entrepreneurs to share their ideas, products, business ideas or expansion projects. The goal is to convince a jury of the quality of their projects and the impact that winning the competition would have for the company. The winning entrepreneur receives various awards, including:

3) Through the OL Lens:

In 2017-2018, WD's OL Lens was applied to 781 projects, including five projects that were seeking funding through the EDI. Two other projects were identified as having the potential to enhance the vitality of the OLMCs and linguistic duality, but only one was approved – the Community Futures National Conference. It involves a national economic development conference in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in June 2018. The project proponent agreed that not less than 25% of the conference activities or content would be in French in order benefit Francophone participants from across Canada.

 c) Success Factors

1) Trails of 1885: Thanks to WD's contribution, this marketing initiative helped increase the number of visitors to these sites by promoting their place in Canadian history and marketing their story to a broader audience in celebration of Canada's 150th anniversary of Confederation. The project resulted in five communities working together to create awareness of the Trails of 1885 initiative and promote tourism to these important Saskatchewan sites in Rostern, Duck Lake, Batoche, Bellevue and Saskatoon in advance of Canada's 150th anniversary of Confederation.

Entreprises Riel: Thanks to WD's contribution, the Francophone and Métis communities will work in partnership with the Province of Manitoba to develop a branding strategy and a concerted approach to attract more tourists from Quebec and other Francophone countries wanting a Francophone experience in the West. Both communities wish to benefit from the $1.6 billion tourism industry in Manitoba with 11 million yearly visitors. The project will help develop new tourism attractions, increase tourism to Francophone destinations in Manitoba and create jobs in these communities.

2) FEDO: Over the past five years, the "La Fosse aux lions" competition has been an important measure of success for the CDEM. This competition and its $15,000 award are enticing to Francophone entrepreneurs who are starting or expanding their business. The competition drives entrepreneurs to look for new business ideas to meet a need while pushing forward to develop viable and credible business plans to impress the jury. The Fosse aux lions serves as a springboard for learning for all participating SMEs. With this highly mediatized event in the community, the CDEM not only promotes Francophone SMEs, but encourages entrepreneurship among a new generation of entrepreneurs.

By promoting entrepreneurship, this competition contributes to the creation or expansion of businesses and job growth within the province.

3) OL Lens: Thanks to WD's support, this national conference will be a great way to promote the use of English and French in western Canada. The event has not happened yet, but the percentage of activities and content offered in French will attract more Francophone participants and showcase the West as a great destination for economic development.

3) What "key achievement" having a regional impact (success stories or results in OLMCs or on the promotion of English and French in Canadian society) would your institution like to highlight?

The goal of the WD Official Languages Champion and Official Languages Team is to promote francophone culture to all regions and respond to the needs of the Francophone communities in each western province. The team also works to ensure the Official Languages Act is well represented throughout the Department. The Official Languages Team includes members from all regional offices and business units, including regional business officers, a human resources consultant, a communications coordinator, a national official languages coordinator, and an official languages champion.

The Team meets regularly by tele or video conference to discuss about regional issues and ways to improve or maintain our relationships with western OLMCs. The last in-person meeting was in February 2018 to work on simplifying how WD reports on departmental performance in terms of official languages, among other things. During this meeting, the Team took the opportunity to invite WD's FEDO partners to hear about their successes and best practices, and to exchange ideas, in order to better align WD's priorities with their needs. Some key points raised by the FEDOs at the meeting included that:

The discussions led to a better understanding of the FEDOs needs and challenges, and allowed the non-program team members to connect with our stakeholders. These new relationships will help to improve collaboration between WD and its OLMCs partners.

4) The 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation presented a unique opportunity for federal institutions to contribute to the development of OLMCs and to promote official languages.

Did your institution contribute to the 150th anniversary of Confederation?


a) If so, please describe the activities

For Canada's 150th anniversary of Confederation, a series of Western Canadian tourism francophone corridor projects funded by WD benefitted from additional Canadian Heritage approved funding. The national tourism corridor project highlights francophone tourism attractions across Canada. The FEDOs provided key support in the development of this project in the West.

WD administered the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program (CIP 150) in the West and funded projects that supported the economic development of OLMCs and/or promoted the use of both official languages in the region, such as:

b) Please identify any processes that your institution undertook in order to comply with the obligations set out in Part VII of the OLA (for example, consultations, impact analysis, use of specific official languages clauses, forming partnerships)

A total of 59 CIP 150 projects funded by WD contributed to the development of the OLMCs and/or promoted official languages; 43 were approved in Round 1 of CIP 150 and 16 in Round 2. The positive measures used to ensure the benefits of Round 2 projects were extended to the Francophone community included: bilingual signage, partnerships between community infrastructure owners and francophone organizations to enhance programs for Francophone children, enhancement of recreational facilities within Francophone communities, creating job opportunities for bilingual citizens, and offering arts and dance programming in French in Vancouver.

c) Please identify the results

Using the aforementioned OL Lens during the assessment process of the CIP 150 projects allowed WD to identify specific projects where the benefits were being extended to the francophone community in Western Canada, as outlined in response B.

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