Emerging Economy Task Force to guide B.C.’s economic strategy

Raghwa Gopal, CEO, Accelerate Okanagan, is one of the task force members


Raghwa Gopal,
Photo: UBC website

B.C.’S new Emerging Economy Task Force has launched, with the goal of ensuring British Columbians around the province can benefit from advances in innovation and technology.

The 14-member task force, led by chair Kathy Kinloch, is composed of people with a range of expertise and experience, from industry, business and academia. It has been established to provide a better understanding of how global conditions and emerging technological advancements will shape the future of B.C.’s economy.

One of the task force members us Raghwa Gopal, CEO, Accelerate Okanagan. Gopal has been instrumental in starting, growing and selling numerous businesses over the past 30 years, the latest being Vadim Software. He sits on the boards of several businesses and not-for-profit organizations, is a certified business and executive coach and has been recognized as a technology innovator.

Bruce Ralston along with Rick Glumac, Parliamentary Secretary for Technology (centre) and Andrew Weaver.

“Understanding the emerging economy is imperative to ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to participate and benefit from our economy as it grows and evolves,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, on Tuesday. “The task force will gather input from industry leaders to assess and determine the changing nature of business and the economy in the years ahead, and recommend how our government can best anticipate change.”

The Emerging Economy Task Force is a central part of the B.C. government’s Confidence and Supply Agreement with the B.C. Green Party caucus.

“To support our province’s long-term economic success, we need made-in-B.C. solutions to stay on top of the changing nature of business,” said Andrew Weaver, B.C. Green Party Leader. “We proposed an Emerging Economy Task Force as a means of addressing how technology, innovation and global trends are changing business and society. This task force brings together key people who can identify the challenges we will face in the years ahead, and help us capitalize on the opportunities that arise.”

To maintain B.C.’s strong economic position, it is important for communities and industries to embrace innovation in order to capitalize on potential new developments.

“The priority of the task force is to define what an emerging economy in B.C. looks like, and what factors will affect economic growth in the next five, 10 and 25 years,” said Kinloch, president of the British Columbia Institute of Technology. “We will be working collaboratively to deliver advice and recommendations to the government that will help shape policy and provide made-in-B.C. solutions to support an innovative and diverse economy.”

The task force held its first meeting on Tuesday, July 10 at MineSense Technologies, a leading B.C. data analytics firm that specializes in creating innovative technologies for the mining industry.

“MineSense develops and utilizes new digital technologies that are transforming the mining industry,” said Jeff More, MineSense CEO. “The work of the Emerging Economy Task Force will help B.C.’s industries stay ahead of the technological curve.”

The task force will undertake engagement, assessment and advisory work starting in summer 2018, and will provide an interim report to the Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology in fall 2018. A final report is due in spring 2019 and will be made public shortly thereafter.


Quick Facts

* The Emerging Economy Task Force is a key component of the Confidence and Supply Agreement (CASA) between the B.C. government and the BC Green Party caucus.

* Innovation Commissioner Alan Winter, who was appointed in February 2018 to advocate for B.C.’s tech and innovation sector in Ottawa and internationally, is an ex-officio member of the Emerging Economy Task Force.

* With 917,000 job openings anticipated for B.C. by the year 2027, the B.C. government is investing in future skills development, and working to attract skilled labour from around the world.

* Of these new job openings, about 9% will be in science and technology, and 11% will be in the trades.

* In January 2018, the B.C. government announced 2,900 tech-related spaces at post-secondary institutions throughout the province that will produce 1,000 additional tech grads a year by 2023, to improve access to training and education.