January 18, 2023 By P&PC Staff
The British Columbia government announced a $90 million investment to support the local economies in the province and promote value-added innovation in the forestry sector.
The StrongerBC Economic Plan’s new fund is expected to create thousands of good-paying jobs for B.C. residents.
“We need to get more good-paying jobs from our forests and every resource in our province,” said Premier David 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 provincial government will invest the money over a span of 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.
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.
A press statement from the province explains that for example, the B.C. 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 coordinated and comprehensive supports are in place to offset any economic impacts from a changing forestry industry.
Joe Nemeth, manager of the B.C. Pulp and Paper Coalition said, “This new program will enable future strategic investments by the pulp and paper sector. This works well with the government’s new initiatives to increase fibre supply for the pulp sector by expanding wildfire salvage opportunities, reducing slash burning and doing more to ensure waste is removed from the bush. Investing in innovation for current operations is an important step in diversifying our sector.”
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