BC benefits when rural communities have strong economies. 💪 Targeted investments throughout rural BC will provide real and substantial benefits to communities throughout the province. http://ow.ly/gmUa309z6UM
Building on the economic benefits and jobs created by getting to yes on major projects and provincial investments in infrastructure, Premier Christy Clark and Minister of State For Rural Economic Development Donna Barnett today released the Province’s rural economic development strategy, detailing immediate investments and a long-term action plan to support thriving rural communities.
Building on our Rural Advantages: B.C.’s Rural Economic Development Strategy outlines the Province’s three-pronged approach to build, strengthen, and diversify rural communities. These investments are expected to support up to 26,600 direct and indirect jobs with an overall impact of $2.8 billion to provincial GDP. Targeted initiatives include $40 million to expand and enhance high-speed Internet and an extension of the $25-million Rural Dividend Fund to reinvigorate and diversify more local economies. These will ensure British Columbians in all regions of the province have the opportunity for well-paying jobs and a high quality of life in their community.
Rural communities throughout B.C. will also benefit from immediate targeted investments through provincial economic development programs including the Rural Dividend Fund, Youth Trades Capital Equipment Program, the B.C. Side Roads Program, Connecting British Columbia Grant Funding, and the Canada – B.C. Job Grant.
To strengthen the Province’s ongoing commitment to support rural communities and in recognition of the unique challenges and opportunities they face, MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin Donna Barnett was recently appointed Minister of State for Rural Economic Development. Building on our Rural Advantages delivers on a key priority in the minister of state’s mandate letter.
The rural strategy is a key commitment of the 5-Year Jobs Plan Update, which recognized the need for focused action to support rural communities. The new targeted actions outlined in the strategy build on the significant investments in Balanced Budget 2017 and respond to what government heard directly from British Columbians living in rural communities. To that end, the strategy includes immediate investments that will lay the foundation for economic diversification in rural B.C.:
- Invest $10 million in 2017-18 for multi-year projects to manage invasive plant species that can cause significant economic and environmental damage in B.C., and to replace Crown-owned range fencing.
- A significant $40-million investment to extend high-speed Internet access to rural and remote B.C. communities, bringing faster broadband speeds that will create new economic opportunities and lay the foundation for new investment and jobs in B.C.’s burgeoning tech industry.
- Extending the $25-million Rural Dividend Fund for a fourth year to support the strength and sustainability of small rural communities.
- $150 million for the Forest Enhancement Society of British Columbia to plant tens of millions more trees, which will help fight climate change and create over 3,000 jobs in rural British Columbia.
- Begin phasing out provincial sales tax on electricity purchases by reducing it to 3.5% on Oct. 1, 2017, and eliminating it by April 1, 2019. This will improve business competitiveness and economic performance, especially for resource industries that are key to rural B.C. such as commercial agriculture, forestry and mining.
- Reduce the small business tax rate to 2% from 2.5%, effective April 2017, which means B.C. will have the second-lowest small business tax in Canada.
Premier Christy Clark –
“B.C.’s rural economies and natural resource industries are at the backbone of our economy, and are shouldering the risk posed by the global downturn in commodity prices. These challenges require immediate action to support our rural communities and a long-term plan that builds on our rural advantages to create jobs and diversify our economy.”
Donna Barnett, Minister of State for Rural Economic Development –
“Creating the conditions for rural British Columbia to grow and thrive is a key priority for our government. Building on our Rural Advantages gives rural British Columbians the tools to shape their own future, and reflects the importance we place on the workers, families and businesses who reside in in the rural areas of the province.”
Ken Tourand, president and CEO of the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology –
“As B.C.’s Aboriginal public post-secondary Institute, NVIT delivers programming in approximately 20 rural and remote communities every year. This strategy, and the Province’s investment in $40 million to improve Internet connectivity in rural communities, will provide new opportunities to rural British Columbians who wouldn’t otherwise have access to the skills training and educational resources. These investments are critical to increasing quality of life and economic opportunities in rural B.C., and will go a long way to encouraging young people to learn and build their careers in communities like Merritt.”
Craig Pryor, manager, Valemount Community Forest Company –
“The Rural Dividend Grant we received is a major step to rebuild our manufacturing industry that collapsed in 2006. It allows the Valemount Community Forest to access up to date knowledge on our wood supply and gives us confidence to sustainably maximize our fibre flows. We are very grateful for the support from the BC Rural Dividend Program and are excited to begin the project”.
Clarence Louie, chief of the Osoyoos Indian Band –
“The B.C rural economic development strategy outlines a strong commitment to partnering with First Nations to ensure full access to development and growth opportunities. I am looking forward to working with the province to ensure this strategy creates new opportunities for the Osoyoos Indian Band in areas such as agriculture, eco-tourism, commercial, industrial, and residential development.”
Pat Corbett, past chair of Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association –
“The Province’s rural economic development strategy recognizes that every community in B.C. benefits when our rural communities are strong. These targeted investments throughout rural British Columbia will provide real and substantial benefits to communities throughout Cariboo-Chilcotin.”
David Formosa, mayor of Powell River –
“I would give the rural economic development strategy an ‘A’ grade. A group of rural mayors asked the provincial government to exempt the resource industry from the PST on electricity – and the Province delivered. This change and other investments in this strategy to support economic diversification are great news for rural communities like Powell River that rely on B.C.’s natural resource sector.”
Val Litwin, president and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce –
"As B.C.'s largest and most broadly-based business organization, our strength lies in our province-wide network of businesses that hail from every nook and cranny of B.C. The targeted actions in this strategy, like reducing the small business tax rate, increasing access to skills training and breaking down the barriers to doing business will drive innovation and growth in rural communities that ultimately strengthen B.C.'s entire economy."
- The Province will invest $3.6 billion in economic development activities targeted at rural communities in 2016/17. These investments support key initiatives including capital investments, improving connectivity and transportation infrastructure, providing close-to-home skills training, increasing economic competitiveness, attracting new investment, expanding opportunities for youth, and partnering with Aboriginal communities.
- The Province invests over $2.2 billion each year in total skills training and education for rural areas across B.C.
- As of March 2017, the Rural Dividend Fund has provided communities of less than 25,000 residents with nearly $24 million to reinvigorate and diversify local economies.
To find out more about the BC Rural Economic Development Strategy, visit: https://bcjobsplan.gov.bc.ca/b-c-s-rural-economic-development-strategy/
To find out more about the BC Jobs Plan, visit: engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan
To find out more about Balanced Budget 2017, visit: bcbudget.ca
To find out more information about the #BCTech Strategy, visit: bctechstrategy.gov.bc.ca
To find out more about career planning and B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, visit: workbc.ca/blueprintbuilder
To find out more about the BC Rural Advisory Council, visit: gov.bc.ca/ruraladvisorycouncil
A backgrounder follows.
Stephen SmartPress Secretary
Office of the Premier
Bill AndersonCommunications Director
Minister of State for Rural Economic Development
Government Communications and Public Engagement
With the release of B.C.’s rural economic development strategy, the Province is making immediate investments of $14,315,524 through the Rural Dividend Fund to help rural communities throughout British Columbia diversify and strengthen their economies.
The Province is awarding 109 grants to 42 local governments, 27 First Nations and 40 not-for-profit organizations throughout the province for single and partnership projects.
Successful projects range from supporting youth in Fort St. James to develop life and career goals through practical work experience, to a project in Tumbler Ridge that will expand the tourism sector in the Peace region, to a project in the Village of Midway that will support upgrades to the Midway Community Centre.
In February 2017, $756,591 in project-development grants was awarded to help successful proponents develop strong single-applicant, or partnerships projects, that create or retain jobs and support economic diversity in their communities.
The $25-million-per-year Rural Dividend Fund was extended for a fourth year in Balanced Budget 2017. Funding is available in four categories:
- community capacity building;
- workforce development;
- community and economic development; and
- business-sector development.
Through the first two rounds of Rural Dividend funding has provided nearly $24 million to support projects that will diversify and strengthen the economy of rural communities throughout the province.
The third application intake will run from April 3, to May 31, 2017.
Second intake project grant recipients
Clayoquot Biosphere Trust Society: $100,000
Cowichan Valley Regional District: $500,000
United Riders of Cumberland: $45,000
Dzawada'enuxw First Nation (Kingcome Inlet): $90,000
Ditidaht Development Corporation: $100,000
Southern Gulf Islands Community Resource Centre Society: $77,760
Heiltsuk Tribal Council (Bella Bella): $100,000
Hope Business and Development Society: $499,948
Huu-ay-aht First Nation (Port Alberni): $100,000
Merville Community Association: $77,350
Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (Courtenay): $100,000
Regional District of Mount Waddington: $500,000
Regional District of Nanaimo: $30,000
Nanwakolas Council (Campbell River): $100,000
Port Alberni : $300,000
Port Alice: $80,000
Port McNeill Kids in Motion Society: $10,000
Qualicum Beach: $100,000
Squamish Chamber of Commerce: $42,736
Squamish Indian Band: $100,000
Squamish-Lillooet Regional District: $100,000
Sto:lo Community Futures Corporation (Chilliwack): $100,000
Sts'ailes First Nation (Agassiz): $300,000
Sunshine Coast Community Futures: $224,000
Bulkley Valley Economic Development Association (Smithers): $17,436
Burns Lake: $79,850
Burns Lake Mountain Biking Association: $100,000
Cheslatta Carrier Nation: $100,000
Dease River Development Corporation : $94,000
Gitlaxt'aamiks Village Government (New Aiyansh): $288,000
Moricetown Band Administration: $499,094
Nak'azdli Whut'en (Fort St. James): $167,500
Northern Rockies Regional Municipality: $116,740
Prophet River First Nation: $30,000
Community Futures Peace Liard: $385,000
Invasive Species Council of British Columbia (for projects in the Peace): $100,000
Powell River: $100,000
Tahltan Central Government Socio-Cultural Working Group (Tatl’ah/Dease Lake): $100,000
Tansi Friendship Centre Society (Chetwynd): $79,816
Tumbler Ridge: $100,000
Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark Society: $100,000
Ksan House Society (Terrace): $78,970
West Moberly First Nations (Moberly Lake): $99,300
100 Mile House: $300,000
Barkerville Historic Town and Park: $127,800
Cariboo Regional District: $96,000
Community Futures Development Corporation of Fraser-Fort George (Prince George): $100,000
Regional District of Fraser-Fort George (Prince George): $100,000
Lhtako Dene Nation (Quesnel): $100,000
Northern Secwepemc Cultural Society (108 Mile Lake): $99,550
Tsilhqot'in National Government (Williams Lake): $498,000
Toosey Indian Band (Riske Creek): $369,000
Valemount Learning Society: $100,000
Williams Lake: $500,000
Xatsull First Nation – Soda Creek Indian Band (Williams Lake): $100,000
Yunesit'in Government (Hanceville): $100,000
Xeni Gwet'in First Nation Government (Nemiah Valley): $100,000
Antares Project Services (Lillooet): $100,000
Cache Creek: $32,000
Logan Lake: $100,000
North Okanagan Community Futures Development Corporation: $500,000
Okanagan Indian Band (Vernon): $100,000
Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen: $36,747
Oliver and District Heritage Society: $60,000
Penticton & District Multicultural Society: $94,052
Salmon Arm Economic Development Society: $43,000
Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band: $100,000
Shuswap Hut and Trail Alliance Society: $98,061
Simpcw First Nation (Barriere): $50,000
South Shuswap Chamber of Commerce: $9,200
Splats'in Development Corporation (Enderby): $85,500
Lower North Thompson Community Forest Society: $100,000
T'it'q'et Administration (Lillooet): $100,000
Arrow and Slocan Lakes Community Services: $100,000
Canal Flats: $100,000
Castlegar and District Chamber of Commerce: $100,000
Columbia Valley Greenways Trail Alliance (Invermere): $500,000
Community Futures Development Corporation of Central Kootenay: $100,000
Elkford Women’s Task Force: $8,000
Golden Cycling Club: $90,000
Kimberley Nordic Club: $55,100
Kootenay Columbia Trails Society: $35,000
Kootenay Employment Services Society: $100,000
Ktunaxa Nation Council Society (Cranbrook): $100,000
Lower Columbia Community Development Team Society (Trail): $500,000
Revelstoke Cycling Association : $10,000
Bill AndersonCommunications Director
Minister of State for Rural Economic Development
Government Communications and Public Engagement