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New federal economic development program to have Surrey HQ

Pacifican to provide $553.1 million over five years, $110.6 million annually after that.
Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum says Surrey selection as headquarters of a federal economic funding agency is an example of Ottawa’s commitment to building Surrey as Metro Vancouver’s second metropolitan centre | Graeme Wood/file photo

Surrey will be the headquarters of the new federal regional economic development agency for British Columbia, Ottawa has announced.

Pacific Economic Development Canada (PacifiCan) will provide $553.1 million to foster business over five years, starting in 2021-22, and $110.6 million annually after that.  

“British Columbia’s economy is growing and diversifying more each day, requiring a tailored approach that considers its needs and seizes its opportunities,” Mélanie Joly, minister of economic development and official languages and minister responsible for Pacific Economic Development Canada, said August 5. “We are proud to be investing in the economic future of innovators, businesses, and communities across British Columbia with the creation of PacifiCan.”

The aim of PacifiCan, the government said, is to build on Western Economic Diversification Canada’s 34-year legacy to further engage businesses, innovators, and communities and foster growth as they emerge from the pandemic.

PacifiCan will retain its current office in Vancouver, but will move to establish a new headquarters in Surrey. Future service locations will include Victoria, Campbell River, Prince Rupert, Fort St. John, Prince George, Kelowna, and Cranbrook.

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum welcomed the choice of his city as the agency’s headquarters.

 “The impacts of Covid-19 have had a ripple effect through our local economy, and we must work together with all levels of government to help businesses recover from this pandemic and continue to prosper in the years to come,” McCallum said.

He called the selection of Surrey an example of Ottawa’s commitment to building the city as the Lower Mainland’s second metropolitan centre.

Burnaby North-Seymour Liberal MP Terry Beech, parliamentary secretary to the minister of economic development and official languages (B.C.) said entrepreneurs, innovators, institutions and community leaders were clear during discussions about the need for more federal resources for investments and community economic development.

“The launch of PacifiCan and its expanded footprint is a substantial step in that direction,” Beech said.