Amrik Virk

Amrik Virk

Tech minister touts benefits of high-tech during Nanaimo visit

NANAIMO - Technology minister promotes high-tech economic benefits at Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce business luncheon.

Embracing high-tech is the way to economic diversity.

That was the message delivered by Amrik Virk, minister of technology, innovation and citizens’ services, during a business luncheon hosted by the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce at Nanaimo Golf Club Wednesday.

Virk was also in town for the two-year anniversary celebration of SquareOne technologyco-working space in downtown Nanaimo.

In his presentation, Virk spoke about the economic benefits to be gained by businesses and local economies through developing and embracing emerging technologies.

“Invariably over time, industries will be up and industries will be down,” Virk said. “If we are diverse and we are broad-base, we will continue to be that shining star in our Dominion of Canada in the jobs that we create and you’ve done so much here.”

Virk cited the B.C. Innovation Council and Innovation Island as drivers, invested in by the government, to generate economic diversity through developing technology and support startup tech companies in 14 regions across B.C., including Vancouver Island.

“At any given time we’ll have 250 different companies at any one of our incubators across the province,” Virk said. “They’re nurtured and then they’re pushed outside the nest to go forth and prosper and create jobs.”

Virk said B.C.’s geographic location in Canada helps diversify its trade partnerships around the world. Where Ontario might do 80 per cent of its trade with the U.S., B.C. does half of it overseas trade with the United States and half with Asian Pacific markets.

“We are a small market. We’re 4.67 million people. If we think the product we produce we’re going to consume internally, then that’s a company doomed for failure,” he said. “A tech company, the day they start they’re an exporter.”

Virk said as the tech sector develops there will need to be an influx of population to fill new jobs, but the province already has the colleges, universities and technology institutes to produce the talent. It also has an attractive combined corporate income tax structure of 26 per cent versus the 41 per cent tax rate a tech company setting in Silicon Valley, Calif., would face.

“But we are not Silicon Valley North. Have you heard that term, Hollywood North? Well, we are B.C. Tech … and it’s getting acknowledged across North America,” Virk said, citing Amazon, Skype and Microsoft OneNote, Animal Logic and Sony Imageworks among major technology firms that have set up operations in B.C.

Just Posted

District of Lantzville Mayor Mark Swain, left, and Snaw-Naw-As Chief Gordon Edwards sign a memorandum of understanding outside Snaw-Naw-As Market on Friday, June 18. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Lantzville and Snaw-Naw-As sign memorandum of understanding

District and First Nation create joint working group

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Tilray announces new line of products offering more inexpensive choices for medical cannabis users. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo-based Tilray launches new medical cannabis product line

Symbios brand products offered at ‘better price point’ for medical cannabis products

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Janice Coady, left, Aimee Chalifoux and Linda Milford at a vigil for Amy Watts on Wednesday, June 16, outside Nanaimo city hall. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
‘We need to do better,’ says mother of woman killed in Nanaimo

Vigil held for former outreach worker Amy Watts, whose body was found downtown June 3

The B.C. Ministry of Education has announced close to $44 million for the province’s schools for COVID-19 recovery. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school stakeholders say COVID-19 recovery funding can make a difference

B.C. Ministry of Education announces it expects a ‘near-normal’ return to class in September

Regional District of Nanaimo is looking to repair sewage pipe in the Hammond Bay Road area, which was corroded by gas. (Black Press file)
Corroded sewer pipe along Nanaimo’s Hammond Bay Road will cost $5.5 million to fix

Pipe replacement and reinforcement part of $6.9-million infrastructure project

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding parnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in South Island parkland

These birds don’t often touch down on their way between northern B.C. and Mexico

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Most Read