B.C. announces $29M in funding for women, minorities in the technology sector

Then-NDP candidate Ravi Kahlon listens as John Horgan speaks to supporters during a campaign stop in Surrey, B.C., on Monday May 8, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The B.C. government is teaming up with community partners, spending millions to get more women and minorities into the technology sector.

The government, Crown agency Innovate B.C., the Information and Communications Technology Council and Mitacs are spending a total of $29 million to create 3,000 jobs for those entering the technology sector this year.

The government asked for feedback from more than 20 organizations and reviewed hundreds of surveys from businesses and individuals who support equity-seeking initiatives to determine how best to distribute the funding.

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The program is based on the Innovator Skills Initiative and would provide companies with up to $10,000 per employee for the first four months, but the grant amount has been increased and preference is given to employers hiring those who are a minority or part of the LGBTQ community.

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Brenda Bailey, the parliamentary secretary for technology and innovation, says the goal now is to revamp the existing program to create a more inclusive and sustainable technology economy.

B.C. Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon says this is one way the government is working to reinvigorate the job market by providing employers the funding they need to create jobs for those most affected by the pandemic.

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He says the pandemic has been disproportionately hard on women and Indigenous and Black communities for employment.

“We want to ensure everyone gets an opportunity to benefit from economic recovery.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 27, 2021.

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