$553.1M BC-focused Regional Development Agency, Pacific Economic Development Canada, launches

‘PacifiCan’ will have offices in Vancouver and Surrey plus service locations in Victoria, Campbell River, Prince Rupert, Fort St. John, Prince George, Kelowna, and Cranbrook.

The Government of Canada is launching a new Regional Development Agency for British Columbia. Known as Pacific Economic Development Canada (PacifiCan), the BC-specific agency will maintain its current office in Vancouver, move to establish its new headquarters in Surrey and expand its reach by establishing new service locations in Victoria, Campbell River, Prince Rupert, Fort St. John, Prince George, Kelowna and Cranbrook over the coming months. 

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In Budget 2021, the Government of Canada provided this new BC-focused agency with $553.1 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, and $110.6 million ongoing. PacifiCan will be the new federal regional economic development agency for British Columbia, replacing Western Economic Diversification Canada—in place since 1987.

“British Columbia’s economy is growing and diversifying more each day, requiring a tailored approach that considers its needs and seizes its opportunities. We are proud to be investing in the economic future of innovators, businesses, and communities across British Columbia with the creation of PacifiCan. For more than 30 years, WD has done tremendous work in the West and this is the beginning of an exciting new chapter,” said The Honourable Mélanie Joly, the Minister responsible for Pacific Economic Development Canada.

MP Terry Beech was also pivotal in the launch. “In roundtable discussions across British Columbia, entrepreneurs, innovators, institutions, and community leaders have been clear about the need for more federal resources for investments and community economic development based on their unique needs. The launch of PacifiCan and its expanded footprint is a substantial step in that direction,” he said. 

The local innovation community appears pleased to welcome PacifiCan. 

“At BC Tech we are excited to welcome the launch of a Federal Regional Development Agency that will focus on BC’s economy and BC’s opportunities. The additional resources this RDA will have are essential if we are to realize BC’s economic potential, particularly in our knowledge, technology and innovation sectors. We look forward to working with the new agency as it launches,” Jill Tipping, CEO of BC Tech, told Vancouver Tech Journal. “Terry Beech really championed the need for a BC-specific agency and we thank him and Minister Joly today for making it a reality,” she continued.

Tessa Seager, Council of Canadian Innovators' Director of Government Affairs in BC, also released a statement. “The leaders behind B.C.’s fastest-growing companies welcome PacifiCan as an important new partner in the province’s future innovation success. For PacifiCan to make a lasting and meaningful impact on B.C.’s economy, it must be empowered to make bold, strategic bets and work closely with domestic innovators to provide them the resources and capital they require to scale-up globally. We view today’s news as recognition of B.C.’s outsized innovation potential and look forward to working with the federal government on the design and deployment of critical economic development programs tailored towards the needs of B.C. innovators,” she told Vancouver Tech Journal.

Meanwhile, Vancouver-based cleantech accelerator, Foresight, took to Twitter to welcome the new agency:

Twitter avatar for @ForesightCACForesight Canada 🌱 @ForesightCAC
Exciting announcement from Hon. Mélanie Joly: PacifiCan, a new $553.1M BC-focused economic development agency, will better serve the needs of businesses, communities, and people in #BritishColumbia:
bit.ly/3ioP3ax #economy #bctech #cleantech @WD_Canada

WD Canada @WD_Canada

Hon. Mélanie Joly launches PacifiCan to better serve businesses, innovators and communities across #BC as: #convenor #pathfinder #advisor #investor #collaborator https://t.co/YMbJ98CKbp https://t.co/cMmYaV8O5j

PacifiCan is one of two new regional development agencies being launched, joining Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba-focused Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan).

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