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Feds create new regional development agency for Prairie businesses

Minister of Economic Development Melanie Joly. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

The creation of a new regional development agency for businesses and communities in the Prairie provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta was announced Thursday by the federal minister responsible for Prairies economic development, Mélanie Joly.

Prairies Economic Development Canada, or PrairiesCan, is intended to build on the legacy created by Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) over the past three-plus decades in order to help regional economies in the region achieve better outcomes.

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With offices in Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Ottawa, Calgary, and a current headquarters in Edmonton, PrairieCan is also establishing new locations in Brandon and Thompson, Man., as well as five cities across Alberta and Saskatchewan.

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“Western Canada’s economy is growing and diversifying more each day, requiring a tailored approach that considers its needs and seizes its opportunities,” said Joly.

“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.”

The goal is to bring federal resources closer to businesses on the ground in their home communities across the Prairies.

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“Western Canada’s economy has quadrupled in size since WD was created in 1987,” said Terry Duguid, parliamentary secretary to the minister of economic development.

“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.

“The result will create new middle-class jobs and grow the economy in more communities across the Prairies.”

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