Northern Development’s 2021 Annual Report has been published online. Recently approved by the Trust’s board of directors, the report reviews project funding approvals that were made during the year and provides financial and program statistics.
“Despite the challenges and uncertainty of 2021, Northern Development remained a steady presence in Northern B.C.,” said Margo Wagner, chair, Northern Development. “Nearly 500 projects were approved in 2021, with a total project value of $349 million. Continued support for economic development in the north is vital to the well-being of our communities and region as a whole.”
This is the first report since the September 2020 introduction of six new community development programs. The new funding programs, developed after extensive consultation, were well accessed and allowed the Trust to partner with communities in a way that more closely aligns with their economic development priorities. Over $7.8 million was committed to 83 community development projects through these six new programs in 2021.
Business development programs continued to provide support as small and medium-sized businesses continued to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, severe weather events, supply chain disruptions, labour shortages and other challenges. These rebate programs often de-risk the cost of businesses investing in themselves to reposition or take advantage of a new opportunity, leading to stronger, more resilient businesses. Since 2005, the Trust has invested $18 million into business development.
The Annual Report also reveals significant growth in the partner programs – funding that Northern Development administers for other organizations. In 2021, more than $94 million was approved through four partner programs. The bulk of this was through the provincially funded Connecting British Columbia program, with $88.8 million being committed to 64 projects that will help deliver high-speed internet connectivity to rural and remote areas of B.C. The three other partner programs are the Northern Healthy Communities Fund, BC Hydro Peace Agricultural Compensation Fund and BC Hydro GO Fund.
The full report can be read on Northern Development’s website here.