Government of Canada supports innovation on Vancouver Island and in the Okanagan

News release

September 9, 2019 – Victoria, British Columbia – Western Economic Diversification Canada
British Columbia’s post-secondary institutions and innovation-based organizations have a long history of delivering successful projects and initiatives that provide guidance and expertise to a broad-cross section of Canadians, equipping them with the tools to succeed, while driving jobs and economic growth.

Today, Western Economic Diversification Canada, announced investments of over $5.6 million for five organizations across British Columbia, including:

  • An investment of $980,000 to support the University of Victoria (UVic) in advancing, demonstrating, and commercializing innovative technologies at the Centre for Aerospace Research (CfAR), specifically in the areas of Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) and the creation of capabilities in space technologies and engineering;
  • An investment of $535,000 to support the National Consortium for Indigenous Economic Development (NCIED) at UVic to deliver their new E-commerce Empowering Aboriginal Generation of Leaders and Entrepreneurs (EAGLE) program to three Indigenous communities in BC. The EAGLE program focuses on culturally sensitive and community-tailored entrepreneurship training to help Indigenous youth (ages 18-29) participate more fully in the western Canadian economy through business ownership;
  • An investment of $400,000 to establish Ocean Networks Canada’s Indigenous Learning and Engagement Facility at UVic. Ocean Networks Canada will make use of the latest in video conferencing hardware and technology to provide individuals in over 50 remote communities (which are mostly Indigenous) with the same oceans research training opportunities offered on-site;
  • An investment of $836,750 to support Camosun College in designing and implementing a new multi-dimensional pre-apprentice program in order to increase participation of women in trades employment; and,
  • An investment of $2,855,550 to support the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council (VIATEC) and Accelerate Okanagan Technology Association (AO) to implement a scale-up project in Southern Vancouver Island and the Okanagan that will support the growth and potential of technology companies through enhanced management and leadership training of company executives.

The Government of Canada is committed to supporting initiatives that meet Indigenous and Youth Inclusiveness priorities, as well as larger Government of Canada priorities of supporting Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan.  By investing in these projects, the government is supporting the advancement of science, technology development, and Indigenous and youth entrepreneurship in Western Canada.


“A strong and vibrant nation is created when Canadians are positioned to succeed. The investments announced today will ensure that individuals from across British Columbia have access to the tools and training that will allow them to prosper for years to come.”

–  The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada

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Communications Advisor
Western Economic Diversification Canada

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