Wide range of positions will receive funding to support rural businesses and communities

COURTENAY, 26 March 2021 – Seventeen new employment positions, serving more than 30 rural communities, will be created across the Island and Coastal region in the first intake period of the Island Coastal Economic Trust’s (ICET) economic recovery program.

The Rural Business and Community Recovery Program (RBCRP), funded by the Province of BC and launched on February 18th, addresses capacity challenges in rural, remote and Indigenous communities by supporting the creation of new, temporary and term positions that strengthen business and community economic recovery and resilience.

“We are impressed by the great quality and diversity of applications received in this first intake,” says ICET Board Chair Aaron Stone. “The variety of approaches shows how each community has assessed their needs based on the assets in place and the direction needed to ensure their quick recovery and future sustainability.”

The range of successful applications underscores the breadth and depth of work needed to successfully activate economic recovery and resiliency efforts across the region.

The new jobs will put “boots to the ground” to facilitate direct advisory services to businesses in need, support community recovery initiatives and, in smaller rural and remote communities, facilitate broad economic diversification activity – all of which will support recovery, sustainability and economic resilience in rural communities.

“The Rural Business and Community Recovery Program fits with our plan to build an innovative, sustainable economic recovery that works for everyone,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “Our goal is to provide businesses and communities the supports needed to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic on a stronger economic footing.”

Regionally focused business and community recovery services will be deployed by the Sunshine Coast Regional Economic Development Organization, Rural Islands Partnership, Community Futures Central Island, Tourism Vancouver Island and the Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce. Place-based innovation and partnerships are at the core of these regional initiatives, as illustrated by the Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce Regional Digital Marketplace.

A new position will support the integration of the region’s makers and service providers into the realm of digital sales through a digital marketplace that leverages the global reputation of West Coast artists and businesses.

Locally based community and business recovery activities will be served through new jobs in the City of Port Alberni, the City of Powell River and on Salt Spring Island. Also focused on partnerships and collaboration amongst organizations, these positions will build on unique community strengths and organization expertise, to address each area’s recovery and community development needs.

In communities under 5000, funding will be used to hire Economic Development professionals to support economic recovery and diversification, tourism sector restart and address new business development and employment creation opportunities. Communities such as the Ditidaht First Nation, Malahat Nation, District of Port Hardy, Village of Tahsis, District of Lantzville, Hornby Island and the Port Renfrew area will leverage these positions to kickstart economic recovery, as well as address long-standing, unmet needs.

All RBCRP jobs are expected to begin in the next month and must be completed before November 2022.

The second intake period is currently open through until April 9th. Applicants are encouraged to contact ICET staff prior to submitting an application.

For more information, including guidelines and application forms, please visit the Rural Business and Community Recovery Program section of our website:

For a complete list of successful projects, please see the appendix below.

ICET gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.


About the Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET)
Created and capitalized by the Province of BC in 2006, the Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET) mission is to create a more diverse and globally competitive Island and Coastal economy. In partnership with local and regional government, non-profits and indigenous communities, ICET serves nearly half a million residents. Funding and support for economic infrastructure and other economic diversification initiatives is delivered through a unique community centered decision-making process. Since inception, ICET has approved more than $54 million in funding for over 240 initiatives. These investments have leveraged over $270 million in new investment into the region creating more than 2500 construction phase jobs and 2650 long term permanent jobs.

For further information:
Amanda Fortier, Communications Officer
Island Coastal Economic Trust
Tel. 250-871-7797 *232


Community Futures Central Island: Rural Recovery Coaches (2) – $70,000 These two part-time positions will provide direct, one-on-one, recovery-focused advisory services for eligible rural communities and businesses in the Community Futures Central Island service area. This includes Ladysmith, Gabriola Island, Coombs, Errington and other Regional District of Nanaimo rural areas. One position will focus on providing direct support services to eligible rural businesses, while the other will support the development and alignment of community recovery efforts with available programming, funding and other opportunities.

Rural Islands Economic Partnership: Shared Business Services Coordinator – $30,000 The part-time Shared Business Services Coordinator will manage community-based delivery of business services to the micro and small businesses of the region’s rural islands through a newly formed shared services cooperative. This will include a wide range of supports, including intake, information and referrals, client research, direct assistance, workshop development and marketing helpline.

SCREDO: Small Business Manager – $62,000The Small Business Program Manager will have primary responsibility for implementing and managing a suite of initiatives under the shared banner of the Sunshine Coast Business Recovery Centre, a cooperative undertaking of the region’s Business and Economic Recovery Task Force. This will include one-on-one advisory and recovery-focused services for business, facilitating business reinvention, access to new markets or other expansion opportunities, as well as community development initiatives focused on a just economic recovery for all.

Tourism Association of Vancouver Island: Community Tourism Officer – $63,000 This new position will provide customized support to rural and remote communities, particularly those with no dedicated tourism destination management organizations. This will include the development and implementation of tourism sector recovery strategies, support with the development of new tourism-related capital projects, identification of partnerships and tourism experience development opportunities and other recovery initiatives.

Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce: Regional Digital Marketplace Manager – $50,000 This position will support the development of a multi-vendor online marketplace supporting artisans, non-profits and small businesses in the 9 west coast communities of the Alberni Clayoquot Regional District. This will include help to set-up their e-commerce store, increase business sales and/or launch a new business entirely. This position will also help move the market into phase 2, expanding to include service providers and new geographic areas. ii. LOCALLY BASED COMMUNITY AND BUSINESS RECOVERY ACTIVITIES

City of Port Alberni: Small Business Support Specialists (2) – $62,000 Working in partnership with the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce, Community Futures Alberni Clayoquot and other Recovery Taskforce members, these two part time positions will provide direct, one-on-one outreach and support to every business, social enterprise and non-profit in the Port Alberni area.  This will include information and support to ensure organizations are taking advantage of available funding opportunities, targeted assistance with the transition to digital sales, platforms and marketing, referrals to specialized service providers for assistance with longer-term business transition, adaptation and sustainability and ensuring that the Recovery Task Force has the most accurate information to build a more resilient economy.

City of Powell River: Community Development Officer – $50,000 Over the next 2 years, with additional funding support from the City, this new position will undertake recovery-focused initiatives, supporting economic diversification, continued resiliency of existing businesses, expansion of industry sectors and the creation of new opportunities in the region.  This will include initiatives related to airport and related aerospace sector development, support of the Creative Economy Strategy and related business development, new economic uses for City-owned lands, Farm Sector and Food Hub initiatives, as well as other relevant community development priorities.

Salt Spring Chamber of Commerce: Economic Vibrancy Coordinator – $49,000 In partnership with Salt Spring Island stakeholders, this position will support the development of creative and collaborative solutions to improve the capacity and resilience of the Island economy. This will include providing individualized support and resources for Salt Spring Island merchants, restaurateurs, hospitality providers and other small businesses and artisans impacted by pandemic restrictions. It will also support Ganges Village community stakeholders to coordinate joint capital improvement, vibrancy and recovery initiatives.


District of Lantzville: Economic Development Officer-Recovery – $62,000 This position will support the implementation of key foundational economic development initiatives from the District’s recent Economic Development Strategy, particularly those highlighted as priorities for economic recovery. The position will also provide direct outreach and engagement with local businesses, provide targeted economic recovery information and assistance and support the development of a business improvement association.

District of Port Hardy: Economic Development Recovery Officer – $70,000 Over the next 18 months, with additional funding from the District, this new position will support post-pandemic economic recovery by providing direct assistance to local businesses and developing strategies and initiatives to support community and business adaptation. This includes tourism sector recovery programs, the planning and preparation of shovel ready economic diversification projects and community economic development activities to address and mitigate reduced resource sector activity.

Ditidaht Development Corporation: Recovery and Resiliency Officer – $54,000 This Recovery and Resiliency Officer will provide direct, one-on-one support to local tourism businesses affected by pandemic-related closures and help identify new opportunities for business adaptation, online services and new business development. The position will also help with community development, training and capacity building.

Hornby Island Community Economic Enhancement: Business Ambassador – $17,000 This part-time position will provide one-on-one assistance and information to support local business economic recovery and adaptation, sustainable tourism industry restart and visitor welcome initiatives. The position will also help local businesses, artists, musicians, farmers and non-profit groups extend their season and market their goods, services and venues year-round.

Malahat Nation: Economic Development Officer – $65,000 This Economic Development Officer position will support the development and implementation of a strategy to attract a range of business opportunities to Malahat Nation-owned lands. This will include work to develop a proposed film studio and other film sector related business and employment opportunities.  The position will also support community and business economic recovery needs and new business development, ensuring the growth, development and employment of Malahat Nation members is maximized in all economic development ventures.

Village of Tahsis: Tourism Recovery Specialist – $61,000 In partnership with Tourism Vancouver Island, the Village of Tahsis will address community economic recovery by expanding and promoting the growing eco-tourism economy. This full-time position will support the development of the eco-tourism sector, develop digital marketing assets and support the region’s tourism operators with targeted restart, recovery and digital marketing assistance. This work will also include the development of collaborative tourism initiatives and promotion of the region’s rich cultural and historical significance in partnership with the region’s Indigenous communities.

WorkLink Employment Society: Rural Economic Development Officer – $41,000 In partnership with other region stakeholders, this position will address capacity challenges and create new employment opportunities in the Port Renfrew area. Key initiatives will include the implementation of the community-based Business Retention and Recovery Plan, development of sustainable tourism initiatives with the Pacheedaht First Nation and development of new opportunities aligned with emerging trends and economic drivers.