Panel's report will outline strategy for economic recovery in Greater Victoria

Breaking down barriers to entry into the workforce, investing heavily in Victoria’s competitive advantages, buying into the innovation economy and buying local are among 50 recommendations to be released Monday in a report designed as a blueprint for the region to dig itself out of the economic crater created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Spearheaded by the Rising Economy Taskforce, struck in the spring by the South Island Prosperity Partnership, the report — Reboot: Greater Victoria’s Regional Economic Recovery Plan​ — was designed to identify the region’s priorities and opportunities that would align with government stimulus funding to speed recovery and establish a more resilient economy.

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The report breaks down the regional economy into 10 key pieces, each of which has a number of recommendations that can be put into action either immediately, over the short-term or in the next few years.

Emilie de Rosenroll, chief executive of the South Island Prosperity Partnership, suggested the plan could be a blueprint for the region’s future, but still requires buy-in from all corners.

“There are still a lot of unknowns, but one thing is certain, we need to embrace the idea that we are in this together and go all-in,” she said. “A partial recovery is not a recovery. Recovery for some sectors and not others is not a recovery.”

The recovery task force pulled together representatives from business, government, academia, the community and all economic sectors to develop specific actions laid out in the 48-page report.

Some of those actions include developing an ​Indigenous Economic Development Office​ for the South Island, owned and operated by First Nations that will help close the equity gap between First Nations and the rest of the economy.

There are also recommendations for new ​digital skills education, “up-skilling” and programs to leverage e-commerc​e, a push to establish an Ocean Innovation Hub to pursue emerging opportunities in the global “blue economy” and invest and promote buy-local programs on a bigger scale.

“[The plan] is the best of our region coming together to plan for a resilient, inclusive and prosperous future,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.

“Now is the time to play a bit of offence, to play to our strengths, and not sit back and hope for recovery to happen.”

aduffy@timescolonist.com

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