New Business Incentives Featured in the Prince George Citizen

Written by MARK NIELSEN
Citizen staff   
Thursday, 23 October 2008
view article on the Prince George Citizen website

Northern Development is offering businesses up to $10,000 for each new job they create in central and northern B.C. under a new rebate program that’s the first of its kind in Canada, according to economic development manager Brodie Guy.

The first cheque is yet to be sent out — the program was launched at the start of the month — but by 2012, Northern Development hopes to have issued $30 million in rebates for at least 3,000 new jobs.

The rebates are based on direct capital investment and training expenditures related to the expansion or location of a business in one of region’s 40 communities.

"They tell us how many jobs they expect (to create), and they’ll come back to us in six months to a year and to claim the rebate they’ll show us a payroll record," Guy said. "It can add up if someone was hiring say, 50 people."

At least two people must be hired and the limit is $2.5 million per employer. The total number hired as a result could be more than 3,000, Guy said, because it’s based on how much a business spends and "they may not fully invest up to $10,000 per job."

The program was approved by Northern Development’s board of directors in September and was rolled out in the struggling forest-based community of Fort St. James. Along with making regional businesses aware, it’s being promoted abroad through advertising in trade publications.

""We could attract businesses from the Lower Mainland, the Pacific Northwest and even Alberta, so we’re actively getting the word out in those regions as well," said Guy.

There are similar programs in the U.S. but none in Canada, according to Guy, who holds a degree in commerce from the University of Victoria and has been working for Northern Development since March.

"It’s fairly unique and I think it’ll be a great incentive for all our businesses and new businesses coming in," said Guy.

Northern Development chair Bruce Sutherland had similar comments.

"It’s very streamlined and not very bureaucratic so we can respond very quickly and that’s kind of the beauty of it," he said, adding it will work well with Northern Development’s goal of creating 10,000 jobs in 10 years.

"Anytime we can try something for the north and spur some new jobs, we’re going to really give it a shot," he said.