Skip to content

$10 million invested in Island Coastal Economic Trust

Will support partnership with First Nations, local and the provincial governments
A dusting of fresh snow covers the peaks of the Coast Mountains seen across northern Strait of Georgia from Campbell River on Vancouver Island, Thursday, Jan. 11, 2023. Photo by Alistair Taylor/Campbell River Mirror photo

With an investment of $10 million by the Province of British Columbia, Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET) will continue to invest in inclusive economic development, diversification, and innovation in partnership with communities along the B.C. coast.

“This provincial investment comes at a pivotal moment, supporting coastal communities to move forward with their vision to transform the Trust into the first co-governed regional development organization in Canada,” said Aaron Stone, Chair of Island Coastal Economic Trust, Mayor of the Town of Ladysmith, and Chair of the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

Founded by the Province of British Columbia in 2006, Island Coastal Economic Trust works to build a sustainable and resilient coastal economy in reciprocal relationships with First Nations, municipalities, and regional districts across Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast, and islands and inlets from the Salish Sea in the south to Cape Caution.

This new investment will support the Trust to work in partnership with First Nations governments, local governments, and the provincial government to develop an actionable and shared pathway to realize this strategic priority, together.

Transformation to a co-governance model is the primary goal set out in the Trust’s Strategic Plan.

“This strategic investment by the Province of B.C. supports us to develop a shared plan among First Nations, local governments, and the province to transform the Trust into an impactful and co-governed institution that will be a catalyst for sustainable development for generations to come,” said Sayaač̓atḥ John Jack, Vice Chair of Island Coastal Economic Trust, Chief Councillor of Huu-ay-aht First Nations, and Chair of the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District.

Successful models of co-governance for land and natural resource management initiatives have been implemented in British Columbia, an ICET press release says. For instance, the Haida Gwaii Management Council, convened by the Haida Nation and the Province of B.C. since 2011 has demonstrated a successful path forward through shared decision making. The vision coastal communities have for Island Coastal Economic Trust is for it to be the first co-governed regional development organization in Canada that will be led by and empower First Nations and local governments to build an inclusive and resilient coastal economy for the benefit of current and future generations.

“Island Coastal Economic Trust plays a meaningful role in supporting communities across the Island and Coast,” said Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation. “We are taking action to help the Trust continue the important work it does by ensuring Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in the region can continue to access funding to advance their priorities for economic development.”

In April 2024, the Trust renewed its funding programs with a $2 million annual budget that will be invested in sustainable development projects focusing on the following impact priorities:

Food Security and Agrifood

Culture and Nature-Based Tourism

Innovation and Technology

Renewable and Low Carbon Energy

Entrepreneurs and Local Businesses

Transportation and Logistics

Training and Advanced Education

Regenerative Forestry

The Trust is also working closely with First Nations, local governments, and the provincial government to develop a plan for the Trust’s long-term financial sustainability that will enable co-governance.