April 2014 - Newsletter

In this issue

Northern Development at a glance


The millions of dollars in funding the Trust has committed to 1,444 projects since 2005


The number of jobs the Trust has helped create


The number of funding partners the Trust has teamed up with to attract more than $1.4 billion in investment to the region


The percentage of investments in communities with less than 5,000 people


The millions of dollars in funding, community grant writers have raised with the Trust's support since 2010

Locally owned, independent businesses are about to get some profile throughout central and northern B.C. Northern Development’s board of directors has voted unanimously to make the Small Town Love buy local initiative a permanent program for communities throughout the region. Small Town Love is a highly successful buy-local initiative originally launched in Quesnel to celebrate central and northern B.C.’s unique independent businesses. Last year, the Trust partnered with Small Town Love founder Amy Quarry to launch a pilot program that would replicate the Quesnel program’s success in another six northern communities (Logan Lake, 100 Mile House, Valemount, Fort St. James, Vanderhoof and Burns Lake). The pilot program was a huge success, with more than 200 locally owned, independent businesses featured in six community-branded web portals, and dozens more businesses wait-listed to join the Small Town Love movement. The program was designed to promote and celebrate businesses in communities throughout the region. The board’s decision to approve funding for the program for another two years means that there are more than a dozen communities who have expressed interest in joining the Small Town Love movement in 2014 and 2015.

The 2014 communities include :

• Village of McBride
• Village of Telkwa
• Northern Rockies Regional Municipality
• Town of Smithers
• Village of Fraser Lake
• Village of Granisle
• Village of Ashcroft
• District of Houston
• Village of Lytton

The Trust will work with these and other communities throughout the region in the weeks and months ahead to schedule and launch the program this year. Locally owned, independent businesses in each of the communities or regions listed above are encouraged to contact their local municipal office or economic development officer to find out how to participate.


In the months ahead, Northern Development will provide further updates regarding participation and launch dates for each campaign.

Quotes :

“Small Town Love is all about celebrating independent businesses and the entrepreneurial spirit in central and northern B.C.,” said Northern Development Initiative Trust CEO Janine North. “The pilot program was a huge success in 2013, and we look forward to continuing to partner with communities and entrepreneurs to get the word out about the great locally owned businesses throughout our region.”

“Small Town Love is firmly rooted in collaboration, community building and inspiring creativity and we share these same values with both Northern Development and the business owners we are meeting through the Small Town Love project. I am very grateful for the partnership with Northern Development that allows us to take Small Town Love to so many more people than we would be able to do on our own,” said Small Town Love founder Amy Quarry.

Quick facts :

• Small Town Love was launched as a pilot program designed to promote small business in communities throughout the region
• The program is a partnership between Northern Development and entrepreneur Amy Quarry, who created and launched the original “Small Town Love” buy-local initiative in the City of Quesnel
• The pilot program launched in 2013 included six communities: Logan Lake, 100 Mile House, Valemount, Fort St. James, Vanderhoof and Burns Lake
• More than 200 locally owned, independent businesses in six communities signed up to be a part of the pilot program
• Locally owned, independent businesses interested in participating in the program in 2014 should contact their municipal office or economic development officer in one of the communities listed above
• Northern Development Initiative Trust is an independent regional economic development corporation focused on stimulating economic growth and job creation in central and northern British Columbia. To date, $121 million in funding has been committed to 1,444 projects in communities throughout central and northern British Columbia.

Contact :

Joel McKay
Director, Communications
Northern Development Initiative Trust
250 561 2525

Renata King
Director, Business Development
Northern Development Initiative Trust
250 561-2525

Northern Development researched and helped create this infographic to capture a snapshot of access and air transportation data focused on Northern British Columbia

Beginning in April, Contractor-Supplier boot camps and Request for Proposal (RFP) seminars will take place throughout various regions in B.C. in an effort to help local businesses better understand industry procurement processes and bid on contracts that will help them grow and diversify their companies. So far, there are a number of Contractor-Supplier boot camps and RFP seminars scheduled to occur in Terrace, Prince Rupert, Kitimat, Prince George and Kelowna throughout the year. As well, two more Contractor-Supplier boot camps and RFP seminars will be held at the International LNG in B.C. Conference held in Vancouver May 21 to 23. The Contractor-Supplier boot camps will focus on procurement opportunities and processes associated with major LNG projects. The RFP seminars will also focus on LNG opportunities, and provide local business owners with a step-by-step guide to industry RFP processes that will help them bid on major contracts.

In 2013, Northern Development’s Contractor-Supplier boot camps were immensely helpful for local businesses throughout central and northern B.C. that want to position themselves to take advantage of the major industrial projects coming their way. Last year, Contractor-Supplier boot camps were held in Quesnel, Houston, Fort Nelson, Mackenzie, Lillooet, Williams Lake and Fort St. John. The boot camps proved to be tremendously successful, with several communities specifically requesting additional seminars in 2014.

The recent collaborative partnership between the Province and Northern Development will prepare local industrial businesses to bid on contracts associated with major projects throughout the region, which will help generate more revenue and job creation for British Columbia-based businesses. The boot camps and RFP seminars are free to attend and open to all local businesses. The seminars are each approximately three hours in length, and will be launched in northwest B.C. this spring before moving on to other regions.

More information regarding seminar dates and locations will be released in the coming weeks.


“Major LNG, mining and other industrial projects present an unparalleled opportunity for our northern-B.C. based businesses to grow, diversify and create new jobs, and we believe it’s important to work with them to get our region prepared for the coming investment boom,” said The Honourable Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and responsible for Labour: “The government is working hard to ensure the entire B.C. business community can participate fully in the opportunity LNG offers. We anticipate LNG will create up to $1 trillion in economic activity and as many as 100,000 jobs in B.C. over the next 30 years. The LNG-Buy BC Program will provide a platform for major investors in a wide range of industries to tap into everything B.C.’s business community has to offer.”

Janine North, CEO, Northern Development Initiative Trust. “We’re proud to partner with the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training to deliver Contractor-Supplier Boot Camps and Request for Proposal workshops to communities throughout the region this year. These workshops will generate value for entrepreneurs throughout B.C. and help the Trust deliver on its mandate to build a stronger north.”

Quick Facts

• More than 10 LNG export terminals have been proposed for development in B.C.
• The growth of the LNG industry in B.C. could add as much as $1 trillion in cumulative gross domestic product over 30 years
• The Province estimates that industry has already spent up to $1 billion to prepare for the construction of LNG infrastructure
• A further $7-plus billion has been invested to acquire upstream natural gas assets and execute strategic corporate acquisitions, including joint ventures that will anchor the development of pipelines and plants in B.C.
• The development of B.C.’s LNG industry will create thousands of new jobs and generate new opportunities for local businesses to grow and diversify

For more information please contact:

Joel McKay
Director, Communications
Northern Development Initiative Trust
250 561 2525

Renata King
Director, Business Development
Northern Development Initiative Trust
250 561-2525

Media Relations
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training

The Northern Opportunities program was originally geared to grow trades students careers in the region, however, they have recently widened their scope to incorporate academic and vocational courses

The Northern Opportunities program has proven to be a catalyst for advancing trades and education in northern B.C., according to a recently released partnership report. The report showed that between 2009 and 2012, Northern Opportunities’ non-trades related courses resulted in a 92% graduation rate from articulated programs, a 91% rate of completion for aboriginal students and a staggering 94% rate of completion for dual credit graduates.

The report also showed that, during the same period, graduation rates for trades related articulated programs was 80%, aboriginal students in trades related courses had an 80% completion rate and the completion rate for trades related dual credit programs topped 82%. Since 2006, Northern Development Initiative Trust has recognized the importance and potential of the Northern Opportunities program and has provided $1,072,770 in funding to the North East BC Learning Council to support program development in trades-related courses.

Northern Opportunities’ goal, envisioned more than a decade ago, was to develop strong, vibrant communities in northeastern B.C. Through substantial collaboration on behalf of industry, educational institutions, and northern communities, the Northern Opportunities program has sustainably and seamlessly transitioned high school and post-secondary students, wishing to pursue an industry-oriented career into a relevant employment in northern B.C.

A key ingredient to Northern Opportunities’ overwhelming success can be attributed in part to their ability to cultivate sustainable partnerships. Northern Opportunities maintains strong partnerships with Northern Lights College, School Districts #59, #60 and #81, Chalo School, BCIT, North East Native Advancing Society, T.R.A.D.E.S Northeast, Northern Development Initiative Trust, Canadian Natural Resources, Canfor, EnCana, Spectra Energy, BC Hydro and Shell Canada. Even more impressive, the Northern Opportunities recent outcomes indicate that they are meeting and exceeding most of their projected graduate targets two years earlier than expected.

Northern Opportunities was originally geared to grow trades students careers in the region, however, they have recently widened their scope to incorporate academic and vocational courses. With northern B.C.’s economy on the precipice of a boom, and planned industrial projects on the rise, it is obvious that the future is still bright for this inspiring and dynamic program.


“The Northern Opportunities programs continues to show that strategic investment in advancing trades training education in northern B.C. helps to build a stronger north,” said Janine North, CEO, Northern Development Initiative Trust.

“Since the inception of the Northern Opportunities Partnership just over ten years ago, the dual credit options for students in northeastern BC has grown exponentially. Trades course offerings have increased from one or two to more than 25 and since 2009 also included 18 non-trades (academic & vocational) courses. The graduation rates of dual credit students in our region speak for themselves, consistently exceeding the traditional rates by 15 – 18 per cent since 2006,” said Cheryl Anthony, Program Director, Northern Opportunities

“This is a program that has made a difference in the lives of students and the growth of our business community. Our students have the ability to graduate not only well established in a trade, but in a trade that they know has been acknowledged by industry that it is needed. Our youth have gone on to full time work and apprenticed others or have started their own businesses. It just doesn’t get any better than a northern opportunity like this!” said City of Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman

Quick Facts :

• The Northern Opportunities program was created to awareness and participation in trades and technical training in northeast B.C.
• Northern Development has provided $1,072,770 in grant funding to support the program
• Approximately 73% of the Trust’s funding approvals go into communities with less than 5,000 people
• Since inception, the Trust has approved $121 million in funding to 1,444 projects throughout central and northern B.C.
• Northern Development provides grant and loan funding to municipalities, regional districts, First Nations and non profit organizations
• The Trust manages 13 distinct funding programs and a host of capacity building services that provide crucial support to 49 local governments and 88 First Nations communities in an area that encompasses 75% of B.C.

Contact :

Joel McKay
Director, Communications
Northern Development Initiative Trust

Located just over an hour north of Terrace in northwestern B.C., the Nisga’a First Nation is located in the rugged mountains of the Nass Valley, which is home to soaring peaks, dramatic lava beds, picturesque fjords and thriving rivers and streams. In 1999, the Nisga’a signed the first modern day treaty with the Province of British Columbia, charting a new path of empowerment, growth and opportunity for the Nisga’a people. Northwest B.C. is currently experiencing an economic boom, but how are the Nisga’a taking advantage of these opportunities? To get the inside scoop, we chatted with Nisga’a Manager of Economic Development Bert Mercer.

Q: What are the current projects that you are working on to drive economic growth for the Nisga’a?

A: We network with the Nisga’a Villages and the Nisga’a urban locals on economic and business initiatives. I provide advisory services to Nisga’a entrepreneurs and I administer the Nisga’a Business Development Fund. In total, we have invested $1.1 million toward entrepreneurs for economic growth.

Q: Guided by Nisga’a culture and best practices from around the world, Nisga’a Lisims Government works to improve the lives of Nisga’a people. How would you describe the Nisga’a approach to economic development?

A: We have developed a prosperity plan that highlights 11 actionable items with implementation plans to support economic growth for the Nisga’a Nation. We support Nisga’a citizens or corporations that have viable sustainable business initiatives (and create employment and profits). It doesn’t matter where a Nisga’a resides, we provide support through the Nisga’a Business Development fund. The Nisga’a Villages, with support from Nisga’a Lisims Government, are currently working in collaboration to develop a detailed tourism strategy and implementation plan to initiate tourism activity.

Q: You recently became one of the first First Nations people in Canada to purchase a house on aboriginal land in fee simple. What does this mean to you as a First Nations person and an economic development manager?

A: Private Nisga’a homeowners currently have Nation Entitlements and Village Entitlements where their personal homes are located. Having fee simple ownership of the property gives you ownership similar to homeowners in municipalities and cities across Canada and throughout the world. Fee simple status opens doors with mainstream financial institutions where a Nisga’a citizen can apply for a second mortgage, using their home and property as equity. The equity can also be used to invest in a Nisga’a entrepreneurial venture. 

Q: A key priority for the Nisga’a Lisims Government is to ensure the preservation of Nisga’a culture. How do you support that priority as an economic development manager?

A: As an Economic Development Manager for the Nisga’a Nation, I do have a vision when moving business forward in the natural resource sector to protect our land and culture. The Nisga’a Nation ensures that those projects are environmentally sound and that they create sustainable prosperity through employment and improve the quality of life for all Nisga’a now and in the future (and that the projects have support from the Nisga’a nation and Nisga’a citizens).

Q: In your own words – why do you love the Nass Valley?

A: The Nass Valley offers everything that I need to survive. It offers tourism activity, backcountry recreation, sport fishing and hunting. We can live off the land like our ancestors did as long as we preserve and respect our culture and land. The land offers many economic opportunities for entrepreneurs that want to improve their livelihood.

Northern Development’s Grant Writing Support program provides up to $8,000 in rebate funding each year to support the employment of a locally based grant writer. The funding helps support grant writers that can help shake the money tree for crucial projects that support community development and economic diversification. Since 2010, community grant writers that have received financial support from the Trust have gone on to raise more than $81 million in additional funding for important community projects throughout the region. The funding is provided to municipalities, regional districts and First Nations bands. Grant writers prepare funding applications to agencies, foundations and government programs, and are supervised by community or band administrators. The Trust provides $432,000 in annual rebate funding to support grant writing positions across central and northern B.C. each year.

Watch the Northern Development’s Grant Writing Support program Video