PacifiCan opens in P.G.
ARTHUR WILLIAMS Citizen staff
International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan was in Prince George on Thursday, to announce the opening of the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifiCan)’s offices in three northern B.C. communities. PacifiCan has offices in Prince George, located at the UNBC campus, Prince Rupert and Fort St. John. The federal economic development agency’s mandate is to promote economic development and create jobs in B.C. The agency was created in August 2021, when Western Economic Diversification Canada was divided into two agencies: PacifiCan and Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan). “Amazing things are happening here, because you’re making them happen,” Sajjan said. “To me, this means being laser-focused on growing the economy to create good-paying jobs.” PacifiCan has an office in Vancouver, and a liaison office in Ottawa. In addition to the offices in Prince George, Prince Rupert and Fort St. John, the agency is also looking to open offices in Campbell River, Cranbrook, Kelowna, Victoria and a new head office in Surrey. The success of northern B.C. will be “a driver” for economic growth in the province, Sajjan said. The region’s natural resources sector is well established, and the Port of Prince Rupert is currently Canada’s third-busiest port, he said, which offers huge potential for growth. Having offices located in communities in the north will make the agency more accessible to businesses and communities in the region, he said. And having local people, who understand the region, in position in those offices will make the agency more responsive. “You will see us here more often, because there is a lot for the northern region to offer the world,” Sajjan said. “The innovation that is happening here is needed all over the world.” UNBC president Geoff Payne welcomed PacifiCan to the UNBC campus. “The vision of PacifiCan aligns so well with UNBC,” Payne said. “Education is absolutely the pathway to economic sustainability.”