OTTAWA - Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) First Vice-President and Mayor of Fredericton Brad Woodside travelled to Ukraine last week to join local government leaders in discussing the importance of Open Government in local economic development, as the country moves towards greater integration with the European Union.

"An open government is essential to advancing local economic development. Transparency and accountability foster an environment that encourages innovation and entrepreneurship, which in turn translates to jobs and economic growth," said FCM First Vice-President Brad Woodside.

Mr. Woodside spoke to more than 100 participants at a Local Self-Governance Forum sponsored by the City of Lviv, Ukraine. He explained what open government looks like in his own city of Fredericton, New Brunswick, and how this approach can advance local economic development. Mr. Woodside also expressed solidarity with Ukraine's local government leaders as they continue to strengthen their democratic institutions and reaffirmed the continued support of Canada's municipalities for Ukraine's democratic movement.

Mr. Woodside's mission was undertaken within the scope of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities' Municipal Local Economic Development program (MLED). Through MLED, partner municipalities in Canada and Ukraine work together to find innovative ways to promote economic growth and strengthen democracy in 12 cities in the Lviv and Dnipropetrovsk oblasts. The MLED program, which began in 2010, supports local economic development in Ukraine by helping Canadian municipalities share their expertise in supporting local businesses with their Ukrainian counterparts.

"Local businesses are proven engines of economic growth. Municipalities have a key role to play in supporting businesses and fostering socio-economic development in their region," said FCM First Vice-President Brad Woodside.

Funding for MLED is provided by the Government of Canada through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development. This funding is supplemented with in-kind contribution from Canadian and Ukrainian partners. MLED is one of a number of FCM's international development initiatives focusing on helping local governments and associations create an environment conducive to sustainable local economic development.

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