Foreign Direct Investment

In 2018 VIEA developed a four business cases for specific investment opportunities across the Island. These, added to three business cases developed in 2017 for wood manufacturing, form a portfolio of investment opportunities being marketed internationally.

Public and private stakeholders helped identify local investment opportunities and our team of consultants vetted and analyzed these thirty concepts to produce a report and four business cases for aquaculture, clean tech, waste wood, and tourism.

This work is a direct complement to existing regional and community economic development objectives by developing and marketing sector-specific, site-specific, tangible, vetted business cases designed to attract the attention of targeted foreign direct investors.

This work was made possible with funding from the Invest Canada Community Initiatives program, Island Coastal Economic Trust, Cowichan Valley Regional District, City of Port Alberni, and Port Alberni Port Authority.

Educate/Engage Stakeholders

Build understanding of FDI opportunities and assist public/private stakeholders to qualify and quantify their offerings for inclusion in business case development and site selection responsiveness. VIEA will work with transportation providers and goods producers to identify cost-effective value chain opportunities and help increase production with existing companies while foreign direct investment efforts are employed to increase appetite internationally.

Diversify and Grow Within Key Sectors

Advanced manufacturing in aerospace, medical devices, biotech, transportation, and marine/environmental sciences, value added wood manufacturing, finfish and shellfish aquaculture, and technology-intense specialty agri-food production—these and other opportunities are ripe for foreign investor attention. FDI marketing will raise international awareness of these and other opportunities on Vancouver Island.

Optimize Usage of Industrial Lands

Coordinate efforts with public and private stakeholders to engage interest amongst prospective foreign investors regarding available commercial/industrial lands. vailable lands that meet specific location requirements will be linked with business cases developed by VIEA. The objective will be to increase investor demand and optimize usage of our considerable inventory of available land and encourage infrastructure improvement.

Increase Production Volumes for Domestic Markets and Direct Export

VIEA’s analysis of direct export potential for several industry sectors seems to indicate that opportunities are largely contingent on ability to increase predictable production volumes. In many instances, producers are navigating complex, costly and time consuming transportation sequences that can be improved with industry clustering and increased production volumes. VIEA will work with stakeholders to identify new markets, industry partners, and foreign investors to justify and facilitate production volumes sufficient to meet domestic demand and warrant direct export.

Attract Foreign Investment

Aligned with Canada’s Global Marketing Action Plan, VIEA will introduce specific investment opportunities with prospective foreign investors focused on sectors with high potential for domestic and export development. Examples exist in the advanced manufacturing sector of European companies using Vancouver Island as their center of excellence for engineering and manufacturing in North America because of the access to skilled labour. Examples, however, are too few because we have lacked the coordinated ability to seize these opportunities. VIEA has developed three business cases for new value added wood manufacturing which are now available to the investment community. VIEA will develop additional business cases in other sectors so as to have specific, detailed opportunities to present to prospective investors.

Improve Access to FTZ Tax/Duty Relief Opportunities
A primary benefit of FTZ designation for Vancouver Island is tax and/or duty relief can improve cash flow significantly for qualifying businesses. These government programs hold significant advantages for those involved with importing and exporting logistics (warehousing and distribution) and manufacturing. To help facilitate access to these programs, FTZVI has access to an inter-government taskforce to help answer questions and solve problems for Island businesses. FTZVI is committed to expanding awareness of and increasing the use of these cost-saving programs by helping Island businesses determine if they qualify and to analyze their cost-benefit.
Enhance Usage of Short-Sea, Trans-Ocean, and Air Cargo Services
Existing transportation infrastructure on Vancouver island is capable of handling ten times present cargo volumes. Short-sea shipping between Vancouver Island and Vancouver offers many advantages for accessing North American markets via the Fraser River (Second only to the St. Lawrence River in Canada.) and reducing GHG emissions from urban truck traffic. In addition to the federal Ports in Nanaimo and Port Alberni, Vancouver Island features numerous deep water access points all along its coast associated with industrial lands. And, several Island airports have international service capacity and available commercial/industrial property. Increased volume of products will lead to greater usage of the Island’s significant transportation capacity to reach all of the Americas and Asian markets especially.
Market Island Exporters and FTZVI Advantages to the World
The FTZ acronym is widely recognized globally by people involved with international trade. Thus, FTZVI can market Vancouver Island as a preferred destination for Foreign Direct Investment and as a place offering ease of access to a suite of government programs designed to provide competitive advantage for logistics and manufacturing. Vancouver Island has been well known as a great place to visit and a favoured destination for retiring Canadians, but has not been known for its industrial capacity or efficient access to major export markets. FTZVI is actively marketing Vancouver Island opportunities to prospective investors wherever the governments of Canada and BC have trade agreements.

Business Cases

Wood Industries

This report took the recommendations that arose from the stakeholder roundtable discussions held in 2016 by the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance (VIEA) and the BC and Canadian Wood Councils in seven communities across Vancouver Island.

Business Cases


Aquaculture on Vancouver Island consists of the cultivation of finfish, shell fish and the harvesting of aquatic plants. Atlantic Salmon is the prime finfish farmed in BC while Chinook, Coho and Sockeye are also cultivated. In addition to salmon species, Steelhead Trout, Sablefish, Sturgeon and Tilapia are also farmed

Business Cases

Clean Tech

The Vancouver Island Clean Tech sector is aligned with global, national and provincial priorities to profitably capitalize on initiatives to reduce dependency of fossil fuels and improve efficiencies in the future delivery of goods and services.

Business Cases


Tourism is loosely defined as various activities of people which include travelling and staying in places different from their usual environment either for business or leisure purposes. Vancouver Island has a global brand as the place to see natural beauty at its finest.

Business Cases

Waste Wood

In a 2017 report on value-added wood manufacturing, VIEA suggested there were viable business opportunities for new ventures. One challenging aspect to the discussion was the availability of raw materials.

Business Match

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Business Cases

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