Island Coastal Economic Trust Empowered to Work Towards Co-Governance with New Investment from the Province of B.C.

$10 million investment will foster regional economic development and collaboration between First Nations, local governments, and the Trust.

Courtenay, April 18, 2024: Through a new $10 million investment by the Province of British Columbia, Island Coastal Economic Trust (the Trust) will make strategic investments to build a strong, diversified economy across Vancouver Island, Sunshine Coast, southern Great Bear Rainforest, and Gulf Islands in the years ahead.

“This provincial investment comes at a pivotal moment, supporting coastal communities to move forward with their vision to transform the Trust into the first co-governed regional development organization in Canada,” said Aaron Stone, Chair of Island Coastal Economic Trust, Mayor of the Town of Ladysmith, and Chair of the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

This new investment will support the Trust to work in partnership with First Nations governments, local governments, and the provincial government to develop an actionable and shared pathway to realize this strategic priority, together.

Transformation to a co-governance model is the primary goal set out in the Trust’s Strategic Plan.

“This strategic investment by the Province of B.C. supports us to develop a shared plan among First Nations, local governments, and the Province to transform the Trust into an impactful and co-governed institution that will be a catalyst for sustainable development for generations to come,” said Sayaač̓atḥ John Jack, Vice Chair of Island Coastal Economic Trust, Chief Councillor of Huu-ay-aht First Nations, and Chair of the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District.

Successful models of co-governance for land and natural resource management initiatives have been implemented in British Columbia. For instance, the Haida Gwaii Management Council, convened by the Haida Nation and the Province of B.C. since 2011 has demonstrated a successful path forward through shared decision making. The vision coastal communities have for Island Coastal Economic Trust is for it to be the first co-governed regional development organization in Canada that will be led by and empower First Nations and local governments to build an inclusive and resilient coastal economy for the benefit of current and future generations.

“Island Coastal Economic Trust plays a meaningful role in supporting communities across the Island and Coast,” said Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation. “We are taking action to help the Trust continue the important work it does by ensuring Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in the region can continue to access funding to advance their priorities for economic development.”

In addition to work on this strategic priority, Island Coastal Economic Trust will continue to strategically invest in inclusive economic development, diversification, and innovation in partnership with communities across Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast, and islands and inlets from the Salish Sea to Cape Caution under its existing model of governance set out in the Act governing the organization.

In April 2024, the Trust renewed its funding programs with a $2 million annual budget that will be invested in sustainable development projects focusing on the following impact priorities:

The Trust is also working closely with First Nations, local governments, and the provincial government to develop a plan for the Trust’s long-term financial sustainability that will enable co-governance. The Trust board of directors has set a strategic objective to secure investment that sufficiently capitalizes the Trust to become a long-term institutional investor, focused on Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) principles inclusive of Indigenous values. This will enable First Nations and local governments to generate sustainable returns through the Trust to drive local and regional economic impact, generating wealth that is re-invested into the coastal and provincial economy.

In tandem with the new provincial investment, Island Coastal Economic Trust’s board is actively seeking nominations for new members of the Trust’s board of directors. Ideal candidates will bring diverse perspectives and expertise, including any combination of the following attributes: Indigenous ancestry, Women, Chartered Professional Accountants, and/or residents of the North Island, rural islands and inlets, and qathet region.

If you are interested in more information about serving on the Island Coastal Economic Trust board of directors, please see our posting on the BC public sector board applications website, or contact Brodie Guy, CEO, by email:

About Island Coastal Economic Trust

Founded by the Province of British Columbia in 2006, Island Coastal Economic Trust works to build a sustainable and resilient coastal economy in reciprocal relationships with First Nations, municipalities, and regional districts across Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast, and islands and inlets from the Salish Sea to Cape Caution. Serving over half a million residents, we partner with communities in the development and financing of their economic infrastructure and diversification efforts through our unique structure that is led by, and accountable to, communities.

Since our inception, Island Coastal Economic Trust has approved more than $60 million to economic development initiatives that have attracted over $333 million in new investment to our region. These investments have created over 2,910 permanent jobs, and countless positive impacts, across the coast.

Island Coastal Economic Trust acknowledges that we work for communities across the ancestral territories of the Kwak’wala, Nuučaan̓uɫ, Éy7á7juuthem, Ligwilda’xw, Pəntl’áč, She shashishalhem, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Hul’q’umi’num’, diitiidʔaatx̣, SENĆOŦEN, Lekwungen, and T’Sou-ke speaking peoples.

Learn more about Island Coastal Economic Trust.

Media Contacts

Jeff Bartlett
Communications and Impact Manager
Island Coastal Economic Trust