B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver, Port Moody-Coquitlam MLA Rick Glumac, Jobs Minister Bruce Ralston, BCIT president Kathy Kinloch and Minesense CEO Jeff More announce emerging economy task force. (Black Press files)

B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver, Port Moody-Coquitlam MLA Rick Glumac, Jobs Minister Bruce Ralston, BCIT president Kathy Kinloch and Minesense CEO Jeff More announce emerging economy task force. (Black Press files)

B.C.’s new Emerging Economy Task Force has launched

A new task force focused on supporting the economic future of British Columbia has launched.

B.C.’s new Emerging Economy Task Force is undertaking a relatively daunting task, yet it is steadfast with the goal of ensuring British Columbians around the province will be able to benefit from ever-advancing innovation and technology.

Comprised of 14 expert members, led by chair Kathy Kinloch, the task force represents individuals who hold a wide range of expertise and experience, from industry, business and academia.

A key component of the Confidence and Supply Agreement (CASA) between the B.C. government and the BC Green Party caucus, the task force has been established to ultimately provide a stronger understanding of how global economic conditions and emerging technological advancements will impact the future of B.C.’s economy.

“Understanding the emerging economy is imperative to ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to participate and benefit from our economy as it grows and evolves,” said Bruce Ralston, the Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology. “The task force will gather input from industry leaders to assess and determine the changing nature of business and the economy in the years ahead and recommend how our government can best anticipate change.”

Andrew Weaver, the leader of the B.C. Green Party, states that the inception of the task force all be critical for a province who is looking to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to future economic fluctuations.

“To support our province’s long-term economic success, we need made-in-B.C. solutions to stay on top of the changing nature of business,” said Weaver. “We proposed an Emerging Economy Task Force as a means of addressing how technology, innovation and global trends are changing business and society. This task force brings together key people who can identify the challenges we will face in the years ahead and help us capitalize on the opportunities that

arise.”

Although British Columbia maintains a strong economic position, the Emerging Economy Task Force believes it is crucial that communities and industries across the province embrace and adapt to innovation in order to capitalize on future economic developments.

“The priority of the task force is to define what an emerging economy in B.C. looks like and what factors will affect economic growth in the next five, 10 and 25 years,” said Kinloch, president of the British Columbia Institute of Technology. “We will be working collaboratively to deliver advice and recommendations to the government that will help shape policy and provide made-in-B.C. solutions to support an innovative and diverse economy.”

With nearly one million job openings being predicted for B.C. by the year 2027, the B.C. government is planning to invest in future skills development over the next decade, ultimately looking to attract skilled labour to the province from around the world.

Reportedly, of these new job openings, approximately nine per cent is anticipated to be in the science and technology field, while 11 per cent is expected to be in the trades.

The task force recently held its first meeting on July 10 at MineSense Technologies, a leading B.C. data analytics firm that specializes in creating innovative technologies for the mining industry.

“MineSense develops and utilizes new digital technologies that are transforming the mining industry,” said Jeff More, CEO of Minesense. “The work of the Emerging Economy Task Force will help B.C.’s industries stay ahead of the technological curve.”

According to a news release issued by the Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology, the task force will be working towards engagement, assessment and advisory work which will begin this summer.

An interim report to the Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology will follow in fall 2018, with a final report being due next spring. The report will then be made public shortly thereafter.