The B.C. government is hoping that turning a strategic investment fund into a Crown corporation will help local businesses and attract talent from around the globe in the post-pandemic economy.
Premier John Horgan announced on Tuesday morning that his government has introduced legislation to convert a $500-million stragetic fund into a Crown corporation called InBC Investment Corporation (InBC).
Originally created last September as a way for the province to invest in private-sector businesses, InBC is designed to provide small and medium-sized companies in British Columbia with capital that can be used to attract investment, foster innovation and create jobs during the post-pandemic economy.
“B.C. has some strategic advantages in a number of areas and InBC is designed to make sure we can take advantage of those strategic positions,” Horgan said a media briefing Tuesday.
InBC will operate with a “triple bottom line” mandate by making investments that are not only expected to achieve a financial return but also meet the provincial government’s social, economic and environmental policies that include creating jobs, advancing reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, and building a more innovative, low-carbon economy.
“The focus will be on creating and maintaining jobs and growing that innovative sector, whatever that may be, that will attach to the values British Columbias hold,” he said.
Horgan said on Tuesday that InBC will also focus on “anchoring” the province’s tech sector, life-science, green tech, and other industry innovators seeking capital to either grow or establish themselves in the province post-pandemic. He also said he the fund ultimately leads to the creation of high-quality jobs that attracts and keeps more “brainpower” in B.C.
“Too often, in the past, the good ideas that have come from our post-secondary institutions have migrated to other jurisdictions for a host of reasons,” said Horgan. “We want to stem that flow of brainpower out of British Columbia and encourage more people to come in the days and weeks and months ahead.”
The newly formed Crown corporation would operate “independently” from the provincial government and its board of directors, which are appointed by cabinet, would include two public servants and seven people from outside the public service.
“The investment decisions of InBC will be made by the chief investment officer, who will report to a board of directors, the majority of which will come from the private sector,” said Horgan.
InBC is expected to be up and running by the fall.
With files from the Canadian Press