Minister of State for Rural Economic Development Donna Barnett (Left)

Minister of State for Rural Economic Development Donna Barnett has said that “The BC Rural Dividend was developed to ensure that rural British Columbians can share in economic opportunities now and into the future. These investments will build capacity in rural communities and lay the foundation for future growth, economic certainty and opportunity for all British Columbians.”

The B.C. government is following through on its commitment to support economic diversification in rural British Columbia by distributing over $750,000 in new project-development grants to help small communities strengthen local economies, Minister of State for Rural Economic Development Donna Barnett announced today.

In the second intake of the three-year $75-million BC Rural Dividend, 77 project development grants, totalling $756,591, will be awarded to 18 local governments, 12 First Nations and 47 not-for-profit organizations from around the province.

One hundred eligible project-development applications were received in the second intake. Each application was independently reviewed by program staff and an executive review committee comprised of senior government executives in the ministries of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations; Community, Sport and Cultural Development; and Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, that was established specifically to assess applications.

The BC Rural Dividend is designed to help eligible rural communities diversify and strengthen their economies and contribute to their overall wellness and sustainability. The program will contribute to the strength and sustainability of small rural communities. It is a key commitment from the 2015 Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention and the Province’s Balanced Budget 2016.

The BC Rural Dividend is one of the ways the B.C. government is taking action to strengthen rural communities. To support the needs of rural communities and grow local economies, the Province will be releasing a Rural Economic Development Strategy in the near future. The strategy will help rural communities leverage their strengths and build on the significant contributions they have made to B.C.’s economy, creating new economic opportunities and enriching the unique lifestyle advantages rural B.C. has to offer.