Community & Business Advisors to Assist Communities Impacted by Forest Sector Changes

ETSI-BC is pleased to launch a new Forest Impact Recovery (FIR) Program, with funding from the Province of BC’s Rural Business and Community Recovery Initiative (RBCRI). Through this partnership, ETSI-BC will provide up to $1.35 million in grant funding to support rural communities and their business support organizations as they take on the challenging task of supporting economic development in communities affected by on-going changes in the forest sector.

This program will assist rural communities in the Southern Interior of BC with populations under 25,000 and non-profit business support organizations serving those communities by providing funding to create Forest Impact Recovery (FIR) Advisor positions.

These new positions will enhance local capacity to create and implement community economic recovery plans, support local businesses, and create new opportunities for growth. Program funds will be available for local governments, First Nations, and non-profit business support organizations serving Southern Interior communities that have been impacted by recent changes in the forest sector.

“Building on the highly successful Rural Business & Community Recovery (RBCR) Program that ETSI-BC delivered in 2021-22, this new funding will allow us to continue working with partners to help address challenges Southern Interior communities face due to impacts from forestry disruptions,” says Laurel Douglas, the CEO of ETSI-BC.

The RBCR Program has had many positive outcomes illustrating the value of the Business Recovery Advisors it supported. One example is from Chase, BC: “Our Business Recovery Advisor with Community Futures Thompson Country carries an extensive vision for the Economic Development of regional TNRD communities. It was due to her vision, leadership skills and constant efforts that my firm was able to secure funding to set-up the very first Health Care Assistant Diploma Training Centre in Chase, BC. We expect to graduate 38-54 CareAide workers annually, who will be able to fill many essential Healthcare jobs in the region.” Amit Goel, Goel Recruiting & Settlement Solutions Ltd.

The value of the RBCR Community Recovery Advisors is shown by this example from Merritt, BC: “Our Community Recovery Advisor engaged with the business community and residents to develop a 10-year Economic Development Strategy, which has five priority focus areas. Through her community engagement activities, the Community Recovery Advisor gained real insight into the needs and concerns of business owners and residents. She became the main point of contact for businesses and provincial agencies after the flood and helped secure additional economic development funding. She formed strong connections with local business support agencies, and that group developed a joint e-newsletter for businesses and met bi-weekly to stay informed and work collaboratively to support the business community.”

Funding will be available through the new FIR Program to support a minimum of 18 Forest Impact Recovery Advisors in the region. Eligible applicants will receive up to 100% of eligible costs to a maximum of $75,000 per position.

The funding intake is scheduled to open March 15, 2023, with the possibility of a second intake in the fall of 2023. The Application Guide, FAQ page and funding intake details will be posted by February 15, 2023 at

An Info Session will be hosted on March 10, 2023 at 10 am Pacific time. Click here to register.

After reviewing the Application Guide, interested applicants are welcome to contact the ETSI-BC Program Administrator at  or (236) 420-3680 ext. 1 to schedule a meeting with the appropriate Project Consultant.


ETSI-BC, the Economic Trust of the Southern Interior, was created in 2006 with a $50 million endowment to assist in the growth and diversification of the economy of the Southern Interior of BC. The Trust is governed by a 13-member Board of Directors, receiving input from Regional Advisory Committees made up of elected officials from both the Thompson-Okanagan and Columbia-Kootenay regions. We add value to the economic development ecosystem and provide funding for projects in four key funding streams:

1) Building economic development capacity,
2) Supporting business resilience and growth,
3) Developing human capital and
4) Innovating and advancing key sectors.
For more information about ETSI-BC, visit the Our Story page on our website at

For More Information, please contact:

Laurel Douglas, CEO | 236.420.3680 |

We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation.


More News & Stories