Vernon looks to immigration to boost economy - InfoNews

Current Conditions


Vernon looks to immigration to boost economy

Image Credit: Contributed/City of Vernon
May 31, 2019 - 6:30 PM

VERNON - The City of Vernon is looking overseas for entrepreneurs ready and willing to invest their cash into the city.

The City recently signed up to the Entrepreneur Immigration pilot project, a provincial initiative aimed at attracting foreign business people to set up shop in the city. While programs for foreign investors wanting to come to Canada have been around for years, the new pilot project focuses on small businesses in cities like Vernon where the population is less than 75,000.  

"This is a great opportunity to bring new businesses and start new businesses within communities outside of the major centres," City of Vernon manager of economic development and tourism Kevin Poole said.

"We're a baby boom population in Canada as a whole, and in the Okanagan is known as a great retirement destination, so we have a lower participation rate in our labour force compared to other communities," Poole said. "If we left it to our own we would shrink, we need to attack others in from other provinces, other communities or even on an international scale."

Since the launch of the project in March, the City has received over 200 emails and had around 30 business plans submitted. Poole said no one had any idea the project would attract so much interest.

The program is aimed at food, manufacturing, merchant stores and professional scientific and technical services. There are roughly 325 positions open province-wide for foreign business people. Applicants must invest a minimum of $100,000 and their business must generate at least one full-time job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. The criteria also say business owners must live in the community and pass an official language test.

Foreign business owners approved in the pilot project will then have the opportunity to be permanent residents and eventually Canadian citizens.

Poole couldn't diverge what any of the business plans proposed, but said applications have been received from Iran, India, China and several other countries.

The business plans will be vetted by the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Vernon Association, Community Futures North Okanagan and Vernon and District Immigrant Services, which if successful will invite the prospective business owner to visit Vernon. Providing both sides are happy the City gives its support to the province and the wheels of the immigration process start to turn. Poole couldn't say how long that aspect would take.

Vernon saw its population grow by 1.2 per cent in 2018, slower than the overall growth of B.C. at 1.4 per cent.

The Greater Vernon Chamber general manager Dione Chambers welcomed the program.

"(It will) bring new businesses to the region and offer a bit of an outside perspective," she said. "It adds a bit of cultural diversity to our region, (and) different employment with these new entrepreneurs coming to our area... there are so many positive factors."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2019
InfoTel News Ltd

  • Popular kelowna News
  • Comments
  • iN VIDEO: Cyclists wipe out on Highway 97
    PENTICTON - Cyclists had a close call on the highway this morning as the 2019 Prospera Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan race got underway. The annual competition started at Gyro Park in P
  • Semi fire on Coquihalla south of Kamloops
    KAMLOOPS - A semi-truck fire is currently raging on the Coquihalla Highway south of Kamloops. Photos show a semi-truck at the Coquillhalla Highway south of Kamloops on July 13. According to
  • Mother sues Kelowna RCMP seeking investigation into her sons' deaths
    KELOWNA - The mother of two teens who died by suicide is taking the Kelowna RCMP to court to answer lingering questions. Annette Toro is petitioning the courts to order the RCMP, as well as
  • Central Okanagan authorities cracking down on sloppy recyclers
    KELOWNA - In an effort to clean up its recycling act, the Regional District of the Central Okanagan is sending “ambassadors” to look into as many as 21,000 blue recycling bins this sum
  • TRENDING NOW: Fish swallows shark whole
    %%NoDefaultImage%% Sharks might be near the top of the food chain, but they're not invicible. Sometimes all it takes to brings down Jaws is a fish with a big mouth and a lot of ambition.
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile