New economic diversification funding launched for rural, forest-dependent B.C. communities

Rural B.C. communities, First Nations and nonprofits looking to strengthen and diversify their economies will receive a new source of provincial funding next year.

Announced Monday (November 14), the Rural Economic Diversification and Infrastructure Initiative will provide up to $33 million in funding to grant applicants beginning Tuesday and running through the end of 2023.

Depending on the size and resource focus of the community, funding will be obtained through three avenues.

Individuals with a population of 25,000 or fewer can apply for up to $1 million, while communities with 2,500 or fewer residents can apply for up to $100,000. Each of them has to pitch projects aimed at making the local economy more resilient in the future. The funding will also be open to local nonprofits.

Forest-dependent communities committed to economic transformation and diversification may apply for up to $500,000. This is in line with the province’s move away from logging old-growth forests.

Funding will be approved in two rounds, with the first round of applications opening Tuesday and the second round opening in spring 2023.

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