Federal and Provincial Investment to Create Jobs and Support Increased Access to Online Learning Opportunities

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Brian Jean, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and Member of Parliament for Fort McMurray – Athabasca, on behalf of the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, announced support towards enhancing online learning opportunities through Athabasca University.

Investment to create jobs and opportunities

“Our Government, through Canada’s Economic Action Plan, is supporting communities hardest hit in these tough economic times,” said MP Jean. “This project will create immediate jobs and provide students with the ability to further their education online to prepare them for the future.”

Athabasca University will employ individuals possessing basic computer skills for the purpose of converting the content of 450 existing courses to a digital format compatible with online learning. The digitization of courses will enhance the learning experience of Athabasca University students. In turn, students will be able to apply the skills and competencies they acquire in practical contexts, which will broaden their career opportunities and benefit employers.

“This program supports the Campus Alberta goal to provide opportunities for more students in more places,” said the Honourable Doug Horner, Minister of Alberta Advanced Education and Technology. “This welcome investment will help ensure that when economic growth returns, Alberta will be ready with a skilled and literate workforce that is prepared for opportunities in the knowledge-based economy.”

Funding through the Community Adjustment Fund

Federal funding of $3.2 million is being provided through the Community Adjustment Fund (CAF) as part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan. The Government of Alberta is also providing $1.2 million.

“The course digitization project will provide a new foundation that we can adapt to emerging technologies in the coming years, paving the way for Athabasca University to become a world leader in the use of new technologies for learning,” said Dr. Frits Pannekoek, President of Athabasca University. “We’re grateful to both levels of government for their leadership in allowing us to undertake this massive project, which we otherwise could not initiate at this time.”

A part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan, the Community Adjustment Fund (CAF) is a two-year, $1 billion national program that will provide an economic stimulus by supporting projects that create jobs and maintain employment in rural communities.

The fund will provide $306 million over two years to support the most affected western Canadian communities, such as those that are heavily reliant on resource-based industries, for instance forestry, mining, agriculture and fisheries, and communities that depend on the manufacturing industry. Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) is delivering the fund in the four western provinces.

Visit the Community Adjustment Fund (CAF) in the West or Canada’s Economic Action Plan for more information.


For more information contact:

Donna Kinley
Regional Manager, Communications
Western Economic Diversification Canada
Phone: (780) 495-6892 or Cell: (780) 991-7432)


John O’Brien
Manager, Media Relations
Athabasca University
Phone: (403) 990-1131