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New agritech plant anchors B.C.’s industrial blueprint

Press Release

April 23, 2024

ABBOTSFORD – A new state-of-the-art milk production plant and more jobs in the agrifood sector are coming to the Fraser Valley to help meet growing demand for dairy products.

This expansion anchors B.C.’s new blueprint to seize opportunities and drive growth in clean-energy and clean-industry sectors.

“British Columbians have seen the impacts of climate disasters on food prices. We must produce more food here in B.C. and we have the ingredients to do it,” said Premier David Eby. “Helping made-in-B.C. food producers like Vitalus Nutrition grow means more good jobs and opportunities for British Columbians. By working collaboratively across industrial sectors and leveraging B.C.’s strengths, we can build a strong, sustainable economy that works better for people.”

The Province is contributing as much as $25 million to help Vitalus Nutrition’s expansion to a 143,500-square-foot facility in Abbotsford with construction set to begin in summer 2024 as part of the release of Clean and Competitive: A Blueprint for B.C.’s Industrial Future. This new plant will support milk producers in the region and create as much as 100 additional jobs on site.

“We are taking action to grow and support an innovation-based economy. Work is happening across government and our blueprint ensures those efforts are well co-ordinated, with people at the very centre of what we’re doing,” said Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation. “We’re helping strengthen local businesses, like Vitalus, so they can continue to be leaders in agricultural innovation and food security, while also creating sustainable, highly skilled jobs for people in our province.”

The initiative reflects B.C.’s strong food and beverage sector that feeds people in the province and beyond, and government’s commitment to position B.C. as a global and domestic leader in agritech and food security. The Vitalus project will focus on manufacturing highly nutritional products in a responsible way.

“Today’s funding announcement is a significant investment in Vitalus Nutrition in B.C., and it also represents a commitment to the future of dairy farming and the agritech sector in Canada,” said Phil Vanderpol, CEO of Vitalus Nutrition Inc. “Our mission is to continue to unlock the nutritional value of dairy, but first and foremost, B.C. is our home, and we are proud to be able to create a significant number of family-supporting jobs, increase exports and enhance our contribution to the provincial economy.”

The larger manufacturing plant will help B.C. milk producers increase local production by 50% to a new total of 1.4 billion litres of milk production in the province annually. The new facility will allow local producers to meet domestic demand for dairy products, such as butter, which is being shipped from eastern Canada, and increase exports of specialty dairy ingredients for nutritional applications. The expanded plant will use many state-of-the-art technologies to ensure that B.C. dairy products meet the exacting standards of quality required for today and the future.

“Most B.C. dairy farms are local, family-run businesses that provide people with quality products they can enjoy with confidence,” said Pam Alexis, Minister of Agriculture and Food. “This partnership will create more opportunities for B.C. milk products, more economic growth in our farming communities, and strengthen the food security and food-supply system in B.C. and Canada.”

Clean and Competitive: A Blueprint for B.C.’s Industrial Future lays out the Province’s work to drive new investment, create new jobs and seize new opportunities in growing clean energy and sustainable industries. Leveraging B.C.’s strengths to create good jobs and opportunities in every community will improve quality of life, while strengthening B.C.’s diverse economy today and for future generations.

Quick Facts:

Vitalus employs approximately 135 people in B.C.
When the project is complete, Vitalus is expected to employ more than 230 people.
This new facility will support more than 3,000 indirect jobs, including workers employed on farms and related to supply-chain logistics.
The dairy-product manufacturing industry is a key economic driver in B.C., employing approximately 2,900 people and contributing more than $230 million to B.C.’s gross domestic product (GDP) each year.
In addition to enhancing local food security for communities in the province, B.C. dairy-product exports generated approximately $35.9 million in 2023, with the top markets being the United States, Brazil, Australia, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates.

Learn More:

To learn more about Vitalus, visit: https://vitalus.com/

To learn more about Clean and Competitive: A Blueprint for B.C.’s Industrial Future, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Clean_and_Competitive.pdf

To learn more about the StrongerBC Economic Plan, visit: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/economic-plan

A backgrounder follows.

Contacts:

Jimmy Smith
Deputy Communications Director
Office of the Premier
Jimmy.Smith@gov.bc.ca
Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation
Media Relations
250 883-2068

Laura Ballance
President
Laura Ballance Media Group
Laura@LBMG.ca
604 771-5176

BACKGROUNDER

Clean and Competitive: A Blueprint for B.C.’s Industrial Future lays out the Province’s work to drive new investment, create new jobs and seize new opportunities in growing clean energy and sustainable industries. Leveraging B.C.’s strengths to create good jobs and opportunities in every community will improve quality of life, while strengthening B.C.’s diverse economy today and for future generations.

A key component of this work is recognizing First Nations’ economic self-determination and working together in partnership to attract investments that meet shared economic and environmental goals.

B.C.’s economic resilience will be built on continuing to leverage the province’s strengths in eight sectors: advanced manufacturing, agritech, critical minerals, digital economy, forestry, life sciences, biofuels and hydrogen.

B.C.’s advanced-manufacturing industries benefit from the Province’s diverse natural-resource sector, including forestry, mining and agriculture, and new wood products.
Apparel, aerospace and transport opportunities mean room to grow new jobs for B.C. companies.
Food supply is a global issue. The agritech sector is creating new technology and new jobs in B.C. that will support local food security, as well as feed the global demand for food, clean water and clean energy.
Critical minerals for clean technologies, such as batteries, EVs and computers, will create new mining jobs and attract investment from some of the world’s largest companies.
Jobs in film, television and the digital economy are not directly reliant on a natural resource other than the talent of people in British Columbia and the support of government to help them grow.
Building a stronger life-sciences sector means high-paying jobs for people and new treatments faster for cancer and other diseases.
Clean energy is a part of the heritage of British Columbia that will power the economy, jobs and well-being, and it powers BlueprintBC.
New investments in wind and solar power, combined with BC Hydro’s $36-billion 10-year capital plan, will create jobs in clean construction and position the province to grow new clean industries.
Demand for clean fuels, such as hydrogen and biofuels, will mean investment in new supply chains with new jobs and opportunities for communities in the province.

Government is:

leveraging B.C.’s natural strengths to create good jobs and opportunities in every community;
making strategic investments in clean energy, forestry, advanced manufacturing, agritech, digital economy, life sciences and critical minerals;
investing in bridges, roads, airports, ports and high-speed internet capacity that businesses need to grow;
leading in climate solutions and clean technology, creating thousands of good jobs in this growing sector;
supporting businesses with funding, tax incentives and exemptions, and addressing labour shortages, so they can continue to seize opportunities and grow; and
expanding training opportunities through StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan, so young people can get good jobs, build good lives and thrive.

Contacts:

Jimmy Smith
Deputy Communications Director
Office of the Premier
Jimmy.Smith@gov.bc.ca
Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation
Media Relations
250 883-2068

Laura Ballance
President
Laura Ballance Media Group
Laura@LBMG.ca
604 771-5176

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