Government of Canada to launch the new Regional Development Agency for British Columbia

News release

Launching: PacifiCan - A new Federal Economic Development Agency just for British Columbia

Pacific Economic Development Canada will better serve the needs of local businesses, communities, and people in British Columbia

August 5, 2021 – Surrey, British Columbia – Western Economic Diversification Canada

From the outset, Canada’s regional development agencies have played a key role in helping businesses and communities weather the effects of the pandemic. They have delivered a suite of direct support programs to help mitigate the financial pressures caused by COVID-19, ensuring that businesses and their employees are not only able to survive the crisis, but positioned to come back stronger in our recovery.

The Government of Canada has laid out a plan, through Budget 2021, to set businesses on a track for long-term growth, and ensure that Canada's future will be healthier, more equitable, greener, and more prosperous. This includes supporting regional economies. As Westerners move towards their economic recovery, the Government of Canada is building a more focused, locally informed approach, putting people first to foster innovation, business growth, and resilience in urban, rural, and Indigenous communities.

For the first time in more than three decades, the Government of Canada will enhance its federal economic development presence and services in Western Canada by creating two regional development agencies for British Columbia and the Prairie provinces. This approach recognizes that economic drivers and conditions are different in each of the two regions, and entrepreneurs, innovators, institutions, and communities have unique needs linked to where they are located.

Pacific Economic Development Canada (PacifiCan) will be the new federal regional economic development agency for British Columbia. It will build on Western Economic Diversification Canada’s (WD) 34 year legacy to work more closely with BC businesses, innovators, and communities; promote connections and investments to foster economic growth; and help organizations navigate federal programs and policies.  

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. As a result, in addition to maintaining its current office in Vancouver, PacifiCan will 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.

These locations will be launched over a period of months. When complete, this enhanced on-the-ground presence will bring the federal government closer to businesses and the communities they call home. Supporting economic development in more communities will help develop businesses and create good jobs that people can rely on.

The new agency will build on existing relationships with clients and partners such as the Western Canada Business Service Network, and will continue to deliver new Budget 2021 funding programs, as well as existing programs that help businesses to scale-up, and support regional innovation.

Quotes

“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.”

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for Pacific Economic Development Canada 

We are proud to be investing in the economic future of innovators, businesses, and communities across British Columbia with the creation of PacifiCan.

- The Hon. Mélanie Joly

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“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.”

Terry Beech, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (B.C.)

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.

- Parl. Sec. Terry Beech, MP

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Quick facts

  • Pacific Economic Development Canada (PacifiCan) is one of two new regional development agencies being launched. The other is Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan), which will be focused on Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The new agencies will replace Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), which has been serving western Canadians since August 4, 1987.

  • Canada’s other regional development agencies include the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), Canada Economic Development for the Regions of Quebec (CEDQ), Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor), Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), and the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario (FedNor).

  • Since its formation, WD has coordinated, supported, and encouraged the creation of enterprises in Western Canada, played a significant role as a strategic investor on behalf of the Government of Canada, and represented western economic interests in Ottawa. 

  • Most recently, WD protected nearly 41,000 jobs through the COVID-19 pandemic by supporting over 9,400 businesses and organizations with more than $630 million in assistance through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund. 

Associated links

Contacts

Catherine Mounier-Desrochers
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages
catherine.mounier-desrochers@canada.ca

Ben Letts
A/Communications Manager
Western Economic Diversification Canada
ben.letts@canada.ca

Stay Connected

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WD Toll-Free Number: 1-888-338-WEST (9378)
TTY (telecommunications device for the hearing impaired): 1-877-303-3388

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