Moving Forward: Key Provincial Policy Initiatives Affecting Social and Economic Development in BC - Sarah Fraser, Whitney Borowko, Catherine Poole

Our three government experts will share information on key policy initiatives from their Ministries’, each of which will have significant impact on the social and economic health of communities and citizens across the Province. 

Catherine Poole, Executive Director of the BC Labour Market Programs Branch will present on the new Workforce Development Agreement and BC’s new WDA program framework.  The presentation will highlight opportunities for post-secondary institutions to support program delivery. 

Sarah Fraser, Executive Director of the BC Regional Development in the Ministry of Forest, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development will share recent findings regarding rural engagement and rural development. 

Whitney Borowko, Director of Policy in the Strategic Policy Branch of the BC Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction is currently working on and will share the development of BC’s first poverty reduction strategy. 

Sarah Fraser is the Executive Director - Rural Development, Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. Sarah has over 27 years of progressively senior experience working in the public service. Most of her career in government has focused on leading regional and community economic development programs throughout British Columbia.

Sarah leads three branches in the Ministry:

Rural Policy and Programs Branch with responsibility for the BC Rural Dividend which provides $25 million a year to assist rural communities to reinvigorate and diversify their local economies. The branch is also responsible for the development of rural policy and legislation.

Innovation, Bioeconomy and Indigenous Opportunities Branch which provides leadership in the development of forest sector innovation; leadership and support in wood innovation and the value-added sector; and leadership in the development of indigenous economic opportunities in B.C.

Regional Economic Operations Branch which delivers on-the-ground economic development support to communities throughout BC and leads the provincial government’s response to communities facing industry downsizing and closure, ensuring appropriate actions are taken to support workers and communities.  

Prior to Sarah’s career as a public servant she worked for community newspapers and an international accounting firm.  

Sarah lives in the Cowichan Valley on a small hobby farm with her husband Bruce and has four children and two grandchildren.  Sarah holds a Master of Business Administration degree and enjoys woodworking and cycling.  

Catherine Poole is the Executive Director, Labour Market Programs Branch, Labour Market and Information Division, Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. Catherine holds a Master’s degree in Social/Cultural Anthropology from U of T and has worked in government for over 25 years, in the areas of planning, policy, programming, data, evaluation, and intergovernmental relations. Catherine is passionate about the public service and is particularly keen on finding ways to be innovative and creative in program design and administration, with a focus on achieving results for British Columbians.

Whitney Borowko is a Director of Policy in the Strategic Policy Branch of B.C.’s Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. She is currently the lead Director working on the development of B.C.’s first poverty reduction strategy. Whitney’s key areas of expertise include strategic policy development, organizational leadership and social innovation. Before joining the B.C. Government, she worked as a manager and senior policy analyst for the federal government, leading files related to income security, disability policy, newcomer integration and social innovation. She has a Masters degree in Public Policy from Simon Fraser University and a Graduate Diploma in Social Innovation from Waterloo.

Sarah Fraser's presentation - Rural Development and  Engagement