Ravi Kahlon, B.C.’s minister of jobs, economic recovery and innovation, speaks at a restaurant in Delta, on September 15, 2021. Kahlon announced a new economic diversification funding program on Nov. 14, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Ravi Kahlon, B.C.’s minister of jobs, economic recovery and innovation, speaks at a restaurant in Delta, on September 15, 2021. Kahlon announced a new economic diversification funding program on Nov. 14, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

New economic diversification fund launched for rural, forest-dependent B.C. communities

Up to $33M available to communities, First Nations, not-for-profits

Rural B.C. communities, First Nations and not-for-profits looking to strengthen and diversify their economies will have access to a new source of provincial funding over the next year.

Announced Monday (Nov. 14), the Rural Economic Diversification and Infrastructure Program will provide up to $33 million to funding applicants, beginning Tuesday and stretching until the end of 2023.

There will be three avenues to access the funding, depending on a community’s size and resource focus.

Those with populations of 25,000 or less can apply for up to $1 million, while communities with 2,500 residents or less can access up to $100,000. They’ll each have to pitch projects aimed at making their local economies more resilient for the future. This funding will also be open to local not-for-profit organizations.

Forest-dependent communities committed to transitioning and diversifying their economies can apply for up to $500,000. This is intended to coincide with the province’s move away from logging old-growth forests.

Funding will be approved in two rounds, with applications for the first round opening on Tuesday and for the second in spring 2023.

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