A new federal economic development agency focused on the Prairie provinces will establish an office in Thompson in the coming months.
Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan) will replace Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, while a new agency – Pacific Economic Development Canada – will focus on British Columbia.
“Western Canada’s economy is growing and diversifying more each day, requiring a tailored approach that considers its needs and seizes its opportunities,” said Economic Development Minister Mélanie Joly in an Aug. 5 news release. “Our government is proud to be investing in the economic future of innovators, businesses, and communities across the Prairies with the creation of PrairiesCan. For more than 30 years, WD has done tremendous work in the west and this is the beginning of an exciting new chapter.”
Existing funding for WD, created in 1987, will be shifted to PrairiesCan, which will maintain existing offices in Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg and Ottawa, while also expanding its Calgary office and opening seven additional offices, including one in Thompson and another in Brandon.
“In roundtables across the Prairies, entrepreneurs, innovators, institutions, and community leaders have been clear about the need for more federal resources for investments and community economic development based on their unique needs,” said Winnipeg South Centre MP and special representative for the Prairies Jim Carr. “The establishment of PrairiesCan and its expanded footprint is a substantial step in that direction.”