In Prince George Tuesday, Premier David Eby announced a new fund designed to diversify local economies, promote value-added innovation in the forestry sector and create thousands of jobs for British Columbians.
“We need to get more good-paying jobs from our forests and every resource in our province,” said Eby. “The investments we are making in rural B.C. will help do that by supporting companies to get into the business of creating value-added products, like mass timber. Our whole province benefits when local workers and their families can build good lives in the rural communities they call home.”
The announcement comes on the heels of Canfor announcing it will be closing Prince George Pulp and Paper at the end of March, putting 300 people out of work.
The Government of B.C. will commit as much as $90 million over three years through the new BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund. The fund will support high-value industrial and manufacturing projects to drive clean and inclusive growth in rural, remote and Indigenous communities.
“In B.C., our economic advantage is our people,” said Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation. “As our natural resource sector transitions, our government is investing in local economies to provide new opportunities that will create jobs and ensure long-lasting prosperity for people throughout our province.”
The fund will support established for-profit organizations to plan and launch shovel-ready projects that bring direct benefits and stable, family-supporting jobs to regional and Indigenous communities.
For example, the BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund may provide funding to a forestry company that needs to buy new equipment to support new product lines, such as mass timber production or paper packaging, or smaller-diameter tree processing and manufacturing, or a company that wants to build or expand a plastics-alternative manufacturing facility in a rural community.
“Forestry is a foundation of B.C.’s economy,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests. “By driving innovation across the sector, we can ensure more value-added wood products are made in B.C. and create more jobs for every tree harvested. Now is the time to work together to build a stronger, more resilient forestry industry that better works for people and communities.”
The BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund will focus on areas experiencing economic impacts from changes in the forestry sector.
The new fund is part of the Forest Worker Community Support initiatives and the StrongerBC Economic Plan’s work to build resilient communities. The fund is in addition to the $185-million support package announced in Budget 2022 to ensure that supports are in place to offset any economic impacts from a changing forestry industry.
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