This regional agency will have 11 offices across Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta
By Diego Flammini
The federal government is taking steps to ensure a more direct approach to economic development in Western Canada.
Economic Development Minister Mélanie Joly announced on Aug. 5 the creation of two new regional development agencies – Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan) and Pacific Economic Development Canada (PacifiCan) for British Columbia.
As Western Canada’s economy continues to change, a need for a specialized department became evident.
"Western Canada's economy is growing and diversifying more each day, requiring a tailored approach that considers its needs and seizes its opportunities,” Joly said in a statement. “Our government is proud to be investing in the economic future of innovators, businesses, and communities across the Prairies with the creation of PrairiesCan.”
PrairiesCan and PacifiCan will replace Western Economic Diversification Canada, which has been in place for 34 years.
Since that time, Western Canada’s economy has grown significantly since 1987.
Western Canada, for example, contributes nearly 38 per cent of Canada’s real GDP and 37 per cent of Canada’s exports.
“The launch of PrairiesCan is recognition of this fact and of the significant diversity among the provinces in agriculture, natural resources, water resources, Indigenous treaty status, exports, and tourism, to name a few,” Terry Duguid, secretary to the minister of economic development, said in a statement. “The result will create new middle-class jobs and grow the economy in more communities across the Prairies."
Community builders are pleased with the PrairiesCan announcement.
This new approach will help sectors get back on their feet after the pandemic.
“Whether it’s the technology sector, tourism, manufacturing, mining … that funding is really going to help those sectors recover and that’s going to help the overall economy in Saskatoon recover post-COVID,” Alex Fallon, president and CEO of the Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority, told Global News.
PrairiesCan will have 11 offices across the three Prairie provinces and receive about $150 million in core funding.
Alberta’s offices will be located in Lethbridge, Fort McMurray and Grande Prairie.
Saskatchewan’s will be in Regina and Prince Albert, and Manitoba’s will be in Brandon and Thompson.
These are in addition to existing offices in Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg and Ottawa