Suspension of the Rural Dividend Fund

The BC Liberal Caucus is calling on the Province to immediately re-instate the Rural Dividend Fund. Communities were recently informed that funds would be temporarily reallocated to a new forestry worker program and current applications have been suspended until further notice.

The funding for the new forestry worker program was announced last week and includes allocations for early-retirement bridging program for older workers; short-term forest employment program focused on fire prevention and community resiliency projects; skills training and training grants; and a new job placement co-ordination office. The total value of the funding is $69 million.

Shortly after the announcement, it was confirmed that the forestry program would be funded by temporarily re-allocating funding from the Rural Dividend Fund, resulting in the suspension of the review of applications that had been submitted under the August 2019 intake.

The Rural Dividend provided up to $25 million a year to assist rural communities, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, with a population of 25,000 or less to strengthen and diversify their local economies. It is administered by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

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