WD supports infrastructure

One of the departments working diligently on behalf of western Canadians is the department of Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD). Established in 1987, WD works to improve the long-term economic competitiveness of the West and the quality of life of its citizens by supporting a wide range of initiatives targeting inter-related project activities including innovation, business development and community economic development.

Under the very capable leadership of my colleague, the Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, Mrs. Lynne Yelich, western communities like our own have benefited from a number of programs designed to support our local economy.

Here in the Okanagan, WD has supported several important projects including an investment for UBCO to acquire high-tech equipment and create a microfabrication facility, and funding for the Okanagan Research and Innovation Centre’s expansion into Kelowna.

And just last year, I was pleased to announce that the Governments of Canada and British Columbia, together through the Western Economic Partnership Agreement, invested more than $2.1 million for Accelerate Okanagan to provide incubation and business acceleration services for local companies.

WD was also instrumental in supporting local infrastructure through the Recreational Infrastructure Canada (RInC) program, a major job creating investment under Canada’s Economic Action Plan. This funding supported several local projects including the reconstruction of the Mission Creek Greenway and the Central Okanagan YMCA-YWCA expansion.

Infrastructure funding, especially recreational infrastructure, not only supports our local economic objectives and creates jobs, it ensures that residents enjoy access to facilities that improve our quality of life.

That is why earlier this summer, through Economic Action Plan 2012, our federal government announced that a limited amount of infrastructure funding was available to local communities through the new Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund (CIIF) a two-year national program that will invest $150 million to rehabilitate and improve existing community infrastructure across Canada.

Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) will invest over $46 million under CIIF in Western Canada.

I’m using this opportunity to let local organizations know that CIIF is currently accepting applications for the second round of funding until November 19th. The first round of funding received a great deal of interest and it is expected that this will be the case in the second round.

Organizations eligible to apply for funding under CIIF include local or regional governments or related agencies; provincial entities that provide municipal-type services to communities; non-profit organizations; and First Nation governments, including Band or Tribal Councils or their legally-designated representatives.

The CIIF supports the rehabilitation or improvement of existing community infrastructure that is non-commercial and accessible to the public including: community centres; cultural centres; parks; libraries; recreational facilities (e.g. local arenas, swimming pools, sports fields, and other types of recreational facilities); tourism facilities having a local impact; and other existing community infrastructure assets which have a local community impact such as connectivity and broadband and local airports.

Applicants seeking less than $250,000 in CIIF funding will receive priority and organizations which apply must leverage at least 50% of total eligible project costs from sources other than the federal government and have all work completed prior to March 31, 2014.

New infrastructure or the significant expansion of existing facilities will not be eligible under this funding.

I encourage any organizations with an interest in pursuing this funding to go to www.wd.gc.ca to obtain information on eligible projects, the application process, and to review frequently asked questions. Applicants may also contact Western Economic Diversification (WD) by calling 1 888 338-WEST (9378).

Partnerships such as those supported by the Government of Canada through Western Economic Diversification and programs like the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund have a good track record in our community and I am confident that with ongoing support, our community will continue to realize our potential through strong economic growth and a good quality of life for all our citizens.

Should you have any questions related to this program or any other federal program or service, do not hesitate to contact me at 250 470-5075 or [email protected] I will continue to work out of my constituency office until I return to Ottawa in September.

Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country

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About the Author

The Honourable Ron Cannan was first elected as Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country in January, 2006. He was subsequently elected in the 2008 and 2011 federal elections. He is a member of the Conservative Caucus.

On September 13th, 2012 Ron was summoned to be a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and will provide advice to the Government as a member of the Priorities and Planning Sub-Committee on Government Administration.

Ron successfully uses his experience and knowledge as a long-time Kelowna City Councillor and regional government representative to be an effective and enthusiastic champion for his riding and his constituents.

His greatest satisfaction comes from helping local organizations and citizens obtain the support they require from Ottawa. 

He is also dedicated to doing what it takes to ensure that the growing and vibrant communities in his riding continue to thrive and prosper.

He is proud of the partnership and cooperation between federal, provincial and municipal governments which have resulted in significant infrastructure projects including upgrades to Highway 97, expansion of the Kelowna International Airport, a new horticulture strategy for fruit growers, obtaining a full service passport office for Kelowna and addressing critical economic issues such as labour skills shortages.

He works closely with the local Chambers of Commerce and once a year arranges meetings for the Chamber with Cabinet Ministers and senior policy staff in Ottawa to move forward important local issues such as crime prevention and labour skills shortages.

He is also an ardent champion for important community initiatives including homelessness, mental health, women’s resources, and support of arts and culture.

On Parliament Hill, Ron has been a member of the Standing Committee on International Trade since 2006 supporting initiatives which will broaden the economic opportunities for local businesses and businesses Canada-wide.

In previous parliamentary sessions Ron has been a member of the Standing Committee for Government Operations and Estimates, Veteran’s Affairs, Human Resources and Social Development, the Scrutiny of Regulations Committee, and the Standing Committee for Fisheries and Oceans.

Ron is also involved in a variety of inter-parliamentary organizations: he is Vice Chair of the Canada-US Inter-Parliamentary Group, and a member of the Canada-Taiwan Friendship group.

As Chair of the Conservative Wine Caucus, Ron works with his colleagues across the country to promote the wine regions of Canada.  Ron tabled Motion 218(formerly Motion 601) which supports direct to consumer purchasing of Canadian wine. His motion became Bill C-311, sponsored by MP Dan Albas, seconded by Ron, which was passed into law on June 28th, 2012.

Prior to entering politics, Ron developed a diverse business background as a small business owner and had several years experience in marketing and sales management working with corporations including Coca-Cola, Costco and Corus Entertainment.

Very active in his community, Ron has been a Director for both the Central Okanagan Regional District and the Central Okanagan Hospital Board. Ron also served on the Okanagan University College Access to Training Advisory Board, the Glenmore Elementary School Parents Advisory Council, and the Kelowna Christian School Fund Raising Committee. He was co-founder of the Okanagan Volunteer Festival. Currently Ron is a member of the Sunrise Rotary Club of Kelowna and, along with his wife Cindy, was the honorary Chair of the 2012 Canadian Cancer Society Daffodil Ball.

Ron lives a family-oriented and active lifestyle with his wife Cindy. He is the proud father of three daughters and grandfather to three grandsons. His hobbies include music and sports.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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