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B.C. government creating new $90 million fund to support forestry sector

Click to play video: 'Province announces B.C. Manufacturing Job Fund'
Province announces B.C. Manufacturing Job Fund
The provincial government is announcing the B.C. Manufacturing Job Fund to help support the struggling forestry sector and create jobs in rural communities. Richard Zussman has more. – Jan 17, 2023

The B.C. government is attempting to bolster a struggling forestry sector by creating a new BC Manufacturing Job Fund to promote value-added innovation.

Premier David Eby unveiled the new fund at an announcement in Prince George, where the community is reeling from major sector layoffs.

Last week, Canfor announced it was permanently closing its pulp operations at its Prince George pulp and paper mill by the end of the month.

Click to play video: 'Canfor permanently closing Prince George Pulp and Paper mill'
Canfor permanently closing Prince George Pulp and Paper mill

Around 300 people are expected to lose their jobs.

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“We need to get more good-paying jobs from our forests and every resource in our province,” Eby said in announcing the new fund.

“Our whole province benefits when local workers and their families can build good lives in the rural communities they call home.”

The province will provide up to $90 million over three years through the new fund.

Click to play video: 'B.C. launches rural economic development fund'
B.C. launches rural economic development fund

The money will be used to support high-value industrial and manufacturing projects to drive clean and inclusive growth in rural, remote and Indigenous communities.

One example of how the fund could be used is to provide funding to a forestry company that needs to buy new equipment to support new product lines, such as mass timber production or paper packaging.

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“The announcement of a $90-million investment could not come at a better time with the recent notice of the permanent closure of the Canfor pulp line,” Northern Development Initiative Trust CEO Joel McKay said.

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