Western Economic Diversification Canada
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Community Economic Development

What is Community Economic Development?

Community economic development (CED) is action by people within a specific geographic community or group of communities to create local economic opportunities and improve quality of life. CED recognizes that local challenges and opportunities are as varied as the individual communities themselves. By using knowledge and resources resident in the community, CED identifies and capitalizes on local opportunities to stimulate economic growth and employment. This can include developing entirely new businesses or industries, adding value to existing sectors, strengthening capacity, and improving local infrastructure to help communities achieve their full economic potential.

What's the WD Connection?

Communities have increased economic opportunities and capacity to respond to challenges, as well as the necessary investments in public infrastructure

Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) contributes to community economic development in urban centres and rural areas through initiatives that capitalize on opportunities for growth and development, and enable communities to adjust to challenges that hinder competitiveness and quality of life. A significant proportion of WD's community economic development funding stems from our role as the western delivery agent for national programs offered by the federal government such as infrastructure programs. Our priorities in support of community economic development include:

  • Encouraging regional approaches to economic development through partnerships with communities and non-profit organizations,
  • Helping rural communities identify and capitalize on new sources of economic growth and employment,
  • Increasing the capacity of rural communities to undertake value-added processing and encourage new opportunities for skilled employment,
  • Enhancing Aboriginal participation in the economy,
  • Designing and delivering regional and community development programs to help western Canadian communities make a successful transition into the 21st century economy,
  • Revitalizing urban communities by supporting initiatives that undertake inner city renewal, build community capacity, enhance knowledge and skills, and foster economic development, and 
  • Investing in infrastructure to sustain rural and urban communities.

What funding is available?

WD helps increase the viability and diversification of local economies in Western Canada through a variety of programs and services, tailored to the region's own particular strengths, challenges and opportunities.

  • The Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program is part of Canada 150 Celebrates, the Government of Canada's celebration of our country's 150th anniversary. Through investments in community infrastructure, the Government of Canada will invest in projects that celebrate our shared heritage, create jobs, and improve the quality of life for Canadians.
  • Western Diversification Program is the main program through which WD invests in projects that support our strategic outcomes related to innovation, business development and entrepreneurship, community economic development and policy, advocacy and coordination.
  • Western Canada Business Service Network is a group of several independent organizations that receive funding from WD to provide a range of services to help create and build small businesses across the West. One of the Network partners, Community Futures Development Corporations, also undertakes broad-based community economic development initiatives in rural western communities.