The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan outlines his vision for PacifiCan and announces $11.8 million in federal support for local innovators

April 1, 2022 at 12:18 pm  Federal, Politics

Address with Surrey Board of Trade highlights region’s economic strengths and lays out PacifiCan’s priorities.

April 1, 2022 – Surrey, British Columbia – Pacific Economic Development Canada

As one of Canada’s fastest growing cities, Surrey plays an important role in British Columbia’s economic development and post-pandemic recovery.

Today, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifiCan), addressed the Surrey Board of Trade. The Minister shared his vision of how PacifiCan will work with British Columbians to drive economic development in communities like Surrey and throughout British Columbia.

As a new federal agency dedicated to British Columbia, PacifiCan will be a long-term partner in British Columbians’ economic success. Throughout the coming year, PacifiCan will expand its on-the-ground presence beyond its existing office in Vancouver. This includes a new headquarters in Surrey with enhanced service to the Fraser Valley, and staff in Campbell River, Cranbrook, Fort St. John, Kelowna, Prince George, Prince Rupert and Victoria.

In his remarks, Minister Sajjan described how PacifiCan is resourced with $110 million a year to support economic development by investing in British Columbian businesses and communities and by helping British Columbians through advice, pathfinding, and convening. Minister Sajjan emphasized partnerships across governments, industry and community as key to enduring economic success.

Investing in British Columbia generates sustainable growth and nurtures regional innovation ecosystems. That is why Minister Sajjan announced $11.8 million in federal support for two innovation projects in Surrey today.

Two Simon Fraser University (SFU) projects are receiving PacifiCan support

Agtech Innovation Sandbox (AGIS)

SFU’s Agtech Innovation Sandbox (AGIS) is receiving $10 million over the next five years. The project will support post-pandemic recovery by helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) scale-up and commercialize agricultural technologies in British Columbia.

AGIS has successfully engaged and secured strong industry participation from at least 30 SMEs located in urban and rural areas of the province. This project will help accelerate product development, deliver training programs to develop local talent and address labour gaps, and establish a collaboration network. The initiative is expected to create more than 300 new jobs, transfer at least 20 technologies to market, and generate $13 million in business sales growth by 2026.

WearTech Labs

SFU core facility WearTech Labs is receiving $1.8 million to test and commercialize new wearable technology products that will improve proactive personal health management. The PacifiCan funding will support the design, construction, installation and operation of two additional labs. It is expected to create 40 new jobs and increase revenues by $25 million.

Regional innovation ecosystems are key to economic development in communities across Canada. They support businesses to innovate, grow and compete globally. These investments support value-added agriculture and clean technology sector priorities. They also develop technology clusters in the areas of health analytics and diagnostics, and contribute to economic recovery through the growth of emerging sectors.

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