We want to strengthen opportunities in rural communities, especially for Aboriginal people and young adults.
Government has invested more than $1.8 billion in initiatives that strengthen rural opportunities this past year, including training programs and support for communities and small businesses.
The future of rural B.C. rests with the people who choose to raise their children, build their businesses and pursue their careers in smaller communities and rural areas. The Rural Economic Development Strategy addresses how government can better serve their needs.
Government is acting to ensure British Columbians are ready and first in line for job opportunities in their communities. It is strengthening skills training and employment services, and investing in capital improvements for schools and postsecondary institutions. It is helping communities identify and take action on a broad range of economic development opportunities.
This is especially important for Aboriginal people and young adults. Aboriginal people represent the fastest-growth youth population in B.C. and nearly half of B.C.’s Aboriginal people are younger than 25 years. Young adults must be able to access skills training and find quality jobs so they are encouraged to stay or are drawn to rural B.C. As they build strong bonds with the community, they will help to sustain its livability and wellness.
Economic realities differ widely in rural B.C. Some communities are prosperous, others are buffeted by challenging conditions such as a reduced timber supply caused by the mountain pine beetle. The Rural Economic Development Strategy has specific action items to help the most vulnerable communities, especially those experiencing the downsizing or closure of a significant employer.