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Feds and region will work together to raise the voice of Prince Rupert and area, Minister International Dev. says

PacifiCan to set up shop in P.R. to further economic development of area
Minister of International Development Harjit S. Sajjan and Port Edward Mayor Knut Bjorndal on Aug. 23 tour the North Pacific Cannery in Port Edward after the minister’s north west funding announcement. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

The federal government wants the people of Prince Rupert to feel the economic growth the port is bringing to the region and as such PacifiCan will be setting up shop in the area announced, Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifiCan).

“I just want everybody to know that PacifiCan was created for all of you. It’s a dedicated federal partnership. We are your federal economic development agency dedicated to growing the B.C. economy,” the minister said to a crowd of more than 50 attendees on Aug. 23.

Making the official announcement of the PacificCan’s strengthened ties to Prince Rupert and the necessity to rely on local experience, the minister named Dale Richardson as the senior business officer for commercial economic development in the north. Richardson will be the dedicated liaison between the government organization and the region, Sajjan said.

It is anticipated the organization will set up office space in the community in the upcoming months.

PacifiCan has offices in Vancouver and will establish headquarters in Surrey with additional service locations in Prince Rupert, Prince George, Surrey, Cranbrook, Fort St. John, Campbell River and Kelowna. The agency will also have an office in Ottawa.

“We know that Prince Rupert is growing. The city population is growing. The Port is also busy and eager to welcome more tourists. Small businesses are growing. But, we have a lot more work to do together,” he said, adding he had met with Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain and the city council to discuss challenges the city faces.

“We want to make sure that Prince Rupert and its people feel the economic growth that the port is bringing to us …

Up until August 2021, PacifiCan was known as Western Economic Diversification until finding a ‘cooler’ name Sajjan said and taking a new approach to economic development in the west.

The organization supports the growth and diversification of B .C.’s economy advancing the interests of the region in national economic policy, policy and programs, states the government website. It reads on to explain the vision of partnering with B.C. businesses and organizations to create a more diversified economy driven by strong, competitive and innovative local businesses and thriving communities.

PacifiCan administers a number of grants and contributions programs that enable the agency to contribute strongly to the productivity and competitiveness in B.C., the website reads.

Sajjan said he believes it is important to champion small B.C. communities like Prince Rupert to those in Ottawa.

While in the city he met with various organizations including city officials, Prince Rupert Port Authority, Price Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce, and others, as well as had a tour of North Pacific Cannery with Port Edward Mayor Knut Bjorndal and Skeena Bulkley MP Taylor Bachrach.

“[I Love] to see the beauty of small places … there is so much beauty in our province.”

“We want to hear more about what we can do together to support the growth and the potential, how we can help the busy port and what more we can do to help welcome tourists,” he said.

K-J Millar | Editor and Multimedia Journalist
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Minister of International Development Harjit S. Sajjan and Port Edward Mayor Knut Bjorndal on Aug. 23 tour the North Pacific Cannery in Port Edward after the minister’s northwest funding announcement. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)