Kevin Krieger, the Assistant Deputy Minister of the BC Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology recently spoke to a packed room at University Canada West.
The assembled students and faculty heard him speak about BC Government job creation priorities, foreign investment and export opportunities.
“BC is the fastest growing economy in Canada,” Mr. Krieger said, adding that growth is about 3% per annum.
He cited natural resources as a driver of growth and said that he sees opportunities for growth in agrifoods, forestry, mining, LNG (liquefied natural gas), transportation and infrastructure, among others.
“We have the largest group of mining, and mining-related companies, in Vancouver,” he said.
Mr. Krieger also spoke about economic diversity in British Columbia. He said Vancouver and the province are an attractive location for businesses.
“My job is to bring foreign investment here,” he said.
Mr. Krieger talked about companies such as Microsoft, EA and Sony Pictures Imageworks establishing offices in Vancouver and how that has contributed to a strong and growing tech sector.
“We have a very exciting technology sector,” he added.
BC is currently the only place in the world that produces quantum computers.
The BC Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology has offices all over the U.S. and throughout the world. This includes four offices in China.
“We have huge Asian trade markets,” Mr. Krieger said.
Krieger’s role is to attract foreign investment to British Columbia.
He also discussed some of the challenges these companies face when looking to establish a presence in BC.
“We have strong environmental assessment processes in place,” Mr. Krieger explained. “We have some of the toughest environmental regulations in the world.”
He said some companies are surprised at how long it can take to get environmental approvals in place.
In addition to meeting the environmental demands of a project, more still needs to be done.
“A lot of companies aren’t aware they need public relations to get a social license,” Mr. Krieger said.
Social license refers to the ongoing acceptance of a company or industry's standard business practices and operating procedures by its employees, stakeholders and the general public.
“When you’re new and come into this market, you need some help,” he said, adding that’s where his ministry comes into play.
Mr. Krieger said he is aware of a managerial talent shortage in the British Columbia marketplace.
The Assistant Deputy Minister stuck around to answer student questions after his presentation was complete.
University Canada West is located in the heart of Vancouver, British Columbia. The business-focused university offers both online and on-campus Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Arts in Business Communication and MBA programs.
Written by Bradley Fehr