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Vern May City of Abbotsford (cropped).jp

Abbotsford, British Columbia

Be A Part of the Next Story

''We work closely with companies for whom we are the right fit - we’re not ‘‘one size fits all.’’'

An Interview with Vern May
Economic Development Manager - City of Abbotsford
Our interview with Vern May at City of Abbotsford Economic Development explores the benefits, advantages and opportunities presented to investors and international companies looking to relocate or expand into the city. We sit down to talk Profitability in Abbotsford with the Manager of Economic Development.

EG: What would you say it is that makes the City of Abbotsford the ideal location for business?  

Vern May: Situated in the close proximity to one of the most desired global hubs in the world – Vancouver, Abbotsford has great access to markets in both Canada and the U.S. as well as Asia-Pacific consumers.  

EG: And what are some of the notable advantages the jurisdiction presents to investors?

VM: Canada is the only G7 country that offers investors preferential market access to over 1.5 billion consumers in 51 countries through our present trade agreements. Abbotsford’s mild climate also defies Canada’s “wintery” stereotype which significantly contributes to the quality of life for those with active lifestyles.

EG: With a diversified economy covering agriculture, transportation, manufacturing and retail as well as the highest dollar per acre of agricultural land in Canada, why have other cities have not been able to match your output?

VM:  Recognising our geographic limitations – nestled between mountains, rivers and an international border, we are laser – focused on our key sectors of agriculture, aerospace, manufacturing and technology as well as industries that support them. We work closely with companies for whom we are the right fit – we’re not “one size fits all”. 

EG:  Tell us about some of the clean tech and sustainable initiatives you have been involved in and how you may assist companies in meeting their sustainable development obligations? 

VM: Our success is rooted in our soil so we have a heightened sensitivity to land and water stewardship. This includes civic initiatives for effective water management and treatment. We also support agricultural waste innovations and exploration of the circular agriculture economy.

EG: Can you highlight some of the major incentives Abbotsford offers in terms of workforce development? 

VM: Recognising that workforce is a key concern worldwide, we work closely with our local school divisions and post-secondary institutions to ensure that the education sector is adaptive to the needs of industry.

EG: Tell us about some of the most essential considerations for businesses wanting to relocate or expand into Abbotsford?  

Canada’s stable political outlook and trade agreements are opportune for international companies looking to access U.S. markets while operating in a cost-conscious location with strong regional and international connectivity.

EG: And how may you facilitate business growth and assist with the expansion process? 

VM: It takes a team to build a community. Our department acts as a concierge for business to navigate processes at City Hall and all levels of governments and to advocate for investors to bring their projects to fruition.   

EG: What prevalent trends do you see affecting the region within the next 5-10 years and how may international businesses be part of the next story?

VM: Environmental awareness and sustainability will continue to be a huge factor in industrial development here. Water stewardship and treatment, increased efficiency in agricultural production and minimising all waste streams present the greatest opportunities for innovators operating in these areas.   EG

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