Premier Christy Clark announced today the two highly qualified British Columbians who will chair the BC Jobs and Investment Board and the Aboriginal Business and Investment Council, created under ‘Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan’.
“These talented British Columbians will help us determine what government can do better so we can create good jobs for families and develop new opportunities for Aboriginal peoples,” said Premier Clark. “Ray Castelli’s extensive experience in international business development in a variety of industries and his key roles in government makes him ideal to head the BC Jobs and Investment Board. Ellis Ross’s pragmatic approach to economic development, co-operation and collaboration make him an incredible asset to the Aboriginal Business and Investment Council.”
Castelli is CEO of Weatherhaven, one of the world’s leading suppliers of redeployable camps and shelter systems. He has also held senior positions at Alcan Aluminum, Naikun Wind Development, and Quadrem, a global procurement services company formed by 19 of the world’s largest mining and metals companies.
Ross is chief councillor of the Haisla Nation and a former Department of Fisheries and Oceans employee who has also run a log-salvage business and worked in the charter-boat industry. The chair of the Aboriginal Business and Investment Council has a standing position on the BC Jobs and Investment Board, so he will serve on both bodies, providing a direct link between them.
The BC Jobs and Investment Board will provide advice and direction to government on policies and programs to help attract sustainable investment, foster economic development and support job creation. It will focus on the eight key sectors in the BC Jobs Plan - forestry, mining, natural gas, agri-foods, technology, tourism, transportation (ports, marine and aerospace) and international education.
“The global market for investment capital is fiercely competitive, and B.C. has to be more creative than ever, as well as leverage our natural advantages, to attract that investment,” said Castelli. “The role of the Jobs and Investment Board is to help government ensure no stones are left unturned in the search for long-term investment and sustainable jobs for our communities.”
The Aboriginal Business and Investment Council will work with Aboriginal communities and the private sector to make recommendations to government on strategies to improve Aboriginal peoples’ participation in the economy, identify successful investment models between Aboriginals and the private sector, foster economic development in Aboriginal communities, and increase overall investment in the province.
“The Crown, the investor and Aboriginal peoples have the opportunity to enable Aboriginal communities to help themselves - but it has to be based on understanding the nature of the respective parties,” said Ross. “Aboriginal peoples have to learn about what it takes to succeed in the business world. Business has to learn how to engage with them, and the Crown has to know what it can bring to the table and how to ensure it flows smoothly. If we can make headway on these hurdles, we will see projects getting built and Aboriginal peoples being involved in the economy surrounding them.”
The board and the council will report to government twice a year.
“Both the Jobs and Investment Board and the Aboriginal Business and Investment Council will support our BC Jobs Plan goal of being either first or second in Canada for job creation and GDP growth by 2015,” said Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Minister Pat Bell. “The Jobs and Investment Board also fulfils our commitment to create a board of experienced and respected business people to measure how major projects are moving through the regulatory and environmental processes.”
The chairs are working with government’s Board Resourcing and Development Office to finalize appointments of other members. The positions have been posted online, and members are chosen through a merit-based process.
Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan: www.bcjobsplan.ca
Two backgrounders follow.
BC Jobs and Investment Board
- The BC Jobs and Investment Board was created under ‘Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan’ to help government attract sustainable investment, foster economic development and support job creation.
- Members will be representative of the economic and cultural diversity in British Columbia, and of the key sectors targeted in ‘Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan’.
- The board will advise government on investment opportunities around the province, work with industry to identify issues and processes that may be limiting that investment, and make recommendations to address them.
- The board will also:
- Host potential key investors to B.C. and encourage investment.
- Identify opportunities for economic development in B.C. and for improving B.C.’s relative competitiveness.
- Provide expert advice on global issues and trends.
- Offer advice on how to promote B.C. as a global destination of choice for international industries to locate their headquarters, including leveraging B.C.’s geographic advantage to recruit Asia-Pacific businesses.
- The Jobs and Investment Board will continue some of the work done previously by the BC Progress Board, which it replaces, to monitor key economic indicators.
Ray Castelli is CEO of Weatherhaven, one of the world’s leading suppliers of redeployable camps and shelter systems, specializing in remote areas and difficult climatic conditions. Founded in Vancouver more than 30 years ago, Weatherhaven has grown to become a key supplier to the global natural resources industry, the military and disaster relief.
With operations on five continents, Weatherhaven has supplied more than 20 military customers around the world, including Canada’s Department of National Defence, the U.S., the U.K., NATO, Australia, Brazil, South Africa and Japan. It has also supplied global natural resource exploration companies including Rio Tinto, BHP, Vale, Petrobras and Alcoa. The company has been a key supplier to the UN and other disaster relief agencies for more than 20 years.
Before joining Weatherhaven, Castelli was CEO of Naikun Wind Development Ltd. in Vancouver; executive vice-president of Quadrem, a global procurement services company based in Texas, formed by 19 of the world’s largest mining and metals companies; director of corporate development (mergers and acquisitions) for Alcan Aluminium (Montreal and New York); and director of corporate affairs for Alcan Aluminium in Vancouver.
Before moving to the private sector, Castelli was deputy chief of staff to the Prime Minister, chief of staff to the Minister of National Defence and chief of staff to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.
He is also a member of the boards of directors of Avcorp Aviation, Global Cobalt, the Prince Rupert Port Authority and the Working Opportunity Fund.
Born and raised in Prince Rupert, Castelli earned his bachelor of business administration from Simon Fraser University, and completed the International Executive Program at l’Institut Européen d'Administration des Affaires in France, more commonly known as INSEAD.
BACKGROUNDER 2: Aboriginal Business and Investment Council
- The Aboriginal Business and Investment Council, created under Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan, will work with Aboriginal communities and the private sector to make recommendations on strategies to improve Aboriginals’ participation in the economy and promote economic growth in Aboriginal communities.
- The council will identify successful investment models between Aboriginal communities and investors and identify ways that they can be replicated in B.C.
- It will provide expert advice on Aboriginal economic development policy.
- The council will also develop relationships between Aboriginal communities, industry and government to implement practical measures for economic development.
- The Aboriginal Business and Investment Council board will be made up of eight representatives, including the chair, from business and Aboriginal communities.
- The chair has been appointed for a two-year term. As chair of the Aboriginal Business and Investment Council, he will also serve on the BC Jobs and Investment Board.
- Members will be selected for their understanding of business, Aboriginal cultures, relationship building and successful business models.
- Council members will serve for one year with a possible extension to two years at the invitation of the Premier or the Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation.
Ellis B. Ross was recently elected chief councillor of the Haisla Nation, having been a full-time councillor since 2003. In the past eight years, he has held a variety of portfolios, but has always maintained his connection to economic development and Aboriginal rights and title issues.
Ross played a vital role in ensuring that the impact benefits agreement, the interim First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act agreement, and the lease for the $3-billion Kitimat Natural Gas Liquefaction and Export Terminal project were successfully completed.
Before becoming the first full-time councillor of the Haisla Nation, Ross worked in the public sector for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. He also ran his own log-salvage business with his brothers and was a skipper and pilot for Aurora Charters.
Office of the Premier
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation