Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall (second from the left) toured local tech companies this week. Here she’s seen with employees of Traction on Demand. Photo submitted

New jobs minister Mungall visits Nelson tech companies

Mungall says growing the tech sector into rural B.C. is among her priorities

Michelle Mungall says the key to growing B.C.’s tech sector is encouraging life outside the Lower Mainland.

The Nelson-Creston MLA was part of a small cabinet shuffle last month that saw her move from the energy ministry to the Minister for Jobs, Economic Development and Competitiveness.

Mungall toured several local tech companies on Tuesday including D-Pace, Traction on Demand and SMRT1 Technologies. She said the feedback was to make rural life a selling point for the sector.

“People in the industry are a bit of a younger demographic and they’re interested in the type of lifestyle where they can grow their family as well as their careers,” said Mungall.

“Nelson, as we all know, offers a phenomenal lifestyle. People are attracted here naturally. Businesses like Traction on Demand, they knew there was a talent core that was untapped, and they could tap it, and they have.”

Life in the Kootenays — and, crucially, away from major cities — has been previously pitched by companies such a Rossland-based Thought Exchange as a draw for workers.

Mungall said the industry also benefits from its ability to offer positions that allow workers to contribute remotely.

“That mobility allows people in that sector to choose where they want to live rather than a job making the choice for them. So tech companies are very savvy to that,” she said.

“When they want to set up a larger venue, they don’t want to have everybody working remotely, they want people to be working together in a location, they’re looking for communities that offer that lifestyle, and B.C. abounds with that. We are simply a case in point here in the Kootenays.”

Mungall also cited forestry and cannabis as two other industries she plans to focus on.

Job losses have mounted over the past year in forestry as high stumpage rates and low supply led to mill closures across the province, despite the industry providing nearly $15 billion in annual exports.

“A lot of our forestry sector has final destination outside our borders,” she said. “So we have to make sure we have good trade relationships, and not just with one trading partner but multiple trading partners whether that be the U.S. or Asia obviously is another fast-paced growing market for commodities.”

As for the cannabis industry, Mungall said she’s already consulted with local stakeholders about what they need to be successful.

She also believes innovations in the tech sector can provide solutions to growing the cannabis industry and stabilizing forestry jobs.

“Building those bridges is something that we need to do,” she said.

Related:

OPINION: Kootenay tech sector is on the rise and everyone is noticing

Hidden Innovators: Tech in the Kootenays



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BC politicscannabiseconomyforestryJobstech industrytech sector

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

First presumptive case of coronavirus identified in the Interior Health region

The woman, in her 30s, travelled from Shanghai and lives in the interior

Construction on Castlegar cannabis facility to start soon

Craft cannabis park will be first of its kind in Canada.

RCMP respond to 65 calls over past week

By Lorne Eckersley Creston RCMP responded to 65 calls for assistance from… Continue reading

Music students, teachers, set to perform

Pictured above: CVMTA teacher Anita Stushnoff will be among the performers at… Continue reading

Fabric artist takes ‘slow clothing’ to a new level

Pictured above: Fabric artist Anne Fetterly and Bruce McFarlane. Lorne Eckersley photo… Continue reading

VIDEO: Ottawa wants quick, peaceful resolution to pipeline protests, Trudeau says

The protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

Coastal GasLink says it has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along the 670-kilometre route

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

The prime minister, who cancelled a two-day trip to Barbados this week to deal with the crisis at home

B.C. budget expected to stay the course as economic growth moderates

Finance minister said ICBC costs have affected budget

Canadian standards for coronavirus protection to be reviewed, health agency says

The protocols set out how health workers should protect themselves and their patients

Monday marks one-year anniversary of man missing from Langley

42-year-old B.C. man, Searl Smith, was last seen leaving Langley Memorial Hospital on Feb. 17, 2019

BC Ferries sailings filling up Family Day Monday

More than 20 sailings added between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen for long weekend

Amtrak warns of delays as railways from Seattle to B.C. blocked by Wet’suwet’en supporters

Coastal GasLink said it’s signed benefits agreements with all 20 elected band councils along pipeline route

Most Read