Mandate and structure of Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan)

Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan) is the federal department that supports economic growth in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Its programs and services help businesses, not-for-profits and communities grow stronger.

Raison d’être

Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) was established in 1987 to promote growth and diversification in the economy of the West. In August 2021, WD’s operating name was changed to Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan). PrairiesCan promotes the economic growth and diversification in the economy of the prairie provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba). PrairiesCan also advances the interests of the prairie provinces in national economic policy, program and project development and implementation.

The Minister of Northern Affairs is responsible for PrairiesCan.

Mandate and role

PrairiesCan’s mandate, enabled by the Western Economic Diversification Act, is to grow and diversify the economy of the Prairies and to advance the interests of western Canada in national economic policy, program and project development and implementation. This broad mandate allows the department to deliver a wide range of initiatives across the Prairies and make strategic investments to build on regional competitive advantages. PrairiesCan also contributes to Government of Canada priorities and ministerial mandate letter commitments.

PrairiesCan builds upon the foundation created by WD. Since 2011, the department has touched nearly 1,000 communities, over 6,300 for-profits, over 3,800 not-for-profits, and supported 290,000 jobs. PrairiesCan has recently expanded its presence with more locations across the Prairies and a strengthened approach to economic development.

This focus on the Prairies enables the department to foster strong partnerships with business and community organizations, research and academic institutions, Indigenous Peoples, and provincial and municipal governments. These connections help PrairiesCan reflect Prairie perspectives in national decision-making.

PrairiesCan is strengthening its four roles in the service of businesses and communities in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. These four roles are:

We are proud to be able to assist the people of the Prairies to grow, transform, and achieve long-term success.

For more information on PrairiesCan priorities, roles, programs, and the work we do, please visit the PrairiesCan website at the links below.


PrairiesCan’s vision is to be a leader in creating a more diversified economy in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba that has strong, competitive and innovative businesses and communities.


The department operates under the provision of the Western Economic Diversification Act, which came into force on June 28, 1988. As a federal department, PrairiesCan is headed by a Minister and a Deputy Head (President).

PrairiesCan’s head office is in Edmonton, Alberta. The department also has an office in Ottawa.


PrairiesCan organizational chart

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Below the Minister is the President. Below the President are the Executive Director of Finance and Corporate Management, and the following 4 Assistant Deputy Ministers:

  • Policy and Strategic Direction
  • Alberta
  • Sasktchewan
  • Manitoba

Programs and services

PrairiesCan administers a number of grants and contributions programs that enable the department to contribute strongly to the productivity and competitiveness in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Strategic priorities

PrairiesCan activities in 2023–24 will focus on 3 priorities:

Read more about PrairiesCan’s priorities in our 2023–2024 Departmental Plan.

Future priorities will be informed by engagement with Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba businesses, organizations and communities.


The Western Economic Diversification Act governs budgets and activities. The Act seeks to boost and diversify the economy in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. It also advances the interests of the Prairie economy when the Government of Canada creates national economic policy and runs its programs.

The Act requires the PrairiesCan Minister to fulfill 3 duties:

Values and standards

PrairiesCan employees care about people and about serving the best interests of its many clients. These 6 statements reflect PrairiesCan’s values. They were developed in the context of the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service:

PrairiesCan employees are accountable for their actions. They know that for these statements to have meaning, each of them must hold the other accountable in a supportive manner. From these values, comes PrairiesCan’s commitment to provide you with quality service.

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