The British Columbia Economic Development Association of (BCEDA) is the leading professional association of economic development practitioners in the Province of BC. The BCEDA currently has over 500 members from communities throughout the Province. The BCEDA provides services that helps member communities grow and expand new and existing businesses, attract new business investments, and work towards strategic infrastructure investment, land use planning, and community enhancement.
The BCEDA services include an annual summit and networking event, educational and professional development opportunities, public relations, advisory services and resources and partnering with communities and the Province of BC to market British Columbia for business investment.
The BCEDA is not your typical membership based organization and does so much more to enhance and support all levels of government. Whether you are a local government, provincial, federal, FIrst Nations or Regional District we work with you to make sure the needs of your organization and others are met. Below are just some of the programs we deliver:
Local and First Nation Government Workshops: Since 2012, BCEDA has delivered in excess of 60 sessions with local governments on specialized workshops towards building capacity and partnerships to encourage community economic development. This includes basic things like workforce development, entrepreneurship, community infrastructure to investment attraction and business retention. Each of these sessions are full days, done in the community, and each community gets a report on the day’s activities. Our workshops have been delivered throughout BC as well as in Alaska and Saskatchewan. We have also customized workshops for Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada to increase the capacity of BC First Nations in the area of economic development.
Western Economic Development Course: BCEDA hosts an annual professional development course in Richmond, BC in partnership with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, the International Economic Development Council, the Economic Development Association of Canada and others. This course brings together local governments and first nations in to a 4 day workshop designed to provide tools and resources to help each community overcome economic challenges and to pursue new opportunities.
Economic Disaster Recovery: In 2012, the British Columbia Economic Development Association established the Economic Disaster Recovery Program following the Burns Lake Mill Explosion. With the financial support of the Province of BC, and the assistance of the International Economic Development Council, BCEDA developed a program to send a team in to Burns Lake to work with the community, stakeholders and businesses to develop an economic recovery plan. Following this work, BCEDA then was asked to assist the International Economic Development Council and the US Department of Commerce in refining the US Economic Recovery Framework. BCEDA was the only Canadian participant during a three day planning retreat in Washington, DC.
Following the 2013 Floods in Alberta, BCEDA was asked by the Government of Alberta and Economic Developers Alberta (EDA) to assist in the Economic Recovery process for eleven different communities. Funding was provided to BCEDA to assist in this task and to cover the cost associated with the teams and report development. At the same time we trained EDA to be able to run a similar program if a disaster ever happened again. Using the information and lessons learned in the work following the floods, EDA then did implement an excellent program following the fires in Fort McMurray.
While each disaster is unique, the basics are the same. Residents, Businesses and Communities are impacted and the support needs to be given to help them recover. Programs must be developed to meet the immediate needs of the community.
On July 7, 2017, BCEDA activated the Economic Disaster Recovery Program as a result of the wildfires currently burning in our Province. We are actively working with Communities, the Red Cross, the Province of BC, and others in operating a Business Hotline for those impacted by the wildfires. Very few of the communities impacted by the wildfires are members of BCEDA but that is not a criteria for assistance. We believe that all of BC is important and as such our assistance is not restricted to member communities and regions. It is anticipated that this program will continue operating for the remainder of 2017 as we implement additional phases of assistance. To date we have over 80 volunteers from across North America who have offered to work with us in the recovery efforts.