October 25, 2023 09:00 am

Speaker Series - Regional Development

Francine Carlin
Board Chair, Rural Islands Economic Partnership (RIEP)

Brodie Guy
CEO, Island Coastal Economic Trust

Lori Henderson
Director of Community Economic Development for the Vancouver Island & Coast region at PacifiCan

Stay updated: Connect with funders and regional organizations for opportunities. 

9:00 - 9:30 am: Rural Island Economic Partnership

9:45 - 10:15 am: The leadership of Island Coastal Economic Trust is working on a transformative vision for sustainable and inclusive economic development across Vancouver Island and coastal communities.

10:30 - 11:00 am: Pacific Economic Development Canada

Sponsored by SW Event Technology

October 25, 2023 09:00 am

Speaker Series - Impact Companies

Mark Anson
CEO/Founder, HFN Timber Tiles LP

Nancy Prevost-Maurice
Co-Founder, The Nūlla Project

Inspiring leaders: prioritizing social, environmental, and community impact in business.

9:00 am: Nancy Prevost-Maurice

10:00 am: Mark Anson

Sponsored by SW Event Technology

October 25, 2023 09:00 am

Speaker Series - Change Makers

Joanna Buczkowska-McCumber
CEO and Principal Sustainability Strategist, Ideas for Impact Sustainability Agency

Creative Coast
Karen Bannister, Jenny Farkas and Denise Withers

Trailblazers: forging new paths and sharing their stories.

9:00 am: Creative Coast

10:00 am: Ideas for Impact Sustainability Agency

Sponsored by SW Event Technology


October 25, 2023 09:00 am

Speaker Series - Collaborative Projects

Jason Goldsworthy
Executive Director for the Centre for Ocean Applied Sustainable Technologies (COAST)

James Spencer
Founder, Shift Environmental Technologies Ltd.

Dr. Woo Soo Kim
Scientific Director, B.C. Centre for Agritech Innovation, a Simon Fraser University initiative

Uniting Strengths: Driving positive change through strategic alliances and mutual support.

9:00 - 9:30 am: Shift Environmental Technologies in partnership with Nanaimo Port Authority and Petroglyph Development Group

9:45 - 10:15 am: Centre for Ocean Applied Sustainable Technologies (COAST)

10:30 - 11:00 am: B.C. Centre for Agritech Innovation, a Simon Fraser University initiative 

Sponsored by SW Event Technology

October 25, 2023 10:30 am

Business to Business Exhibitors and Networking

Sponsored by Array

Meet with 35+ exhibitors while networking with delegates before the Opening Luncheon.

October 25, 2023 12:00 pm

Opening Lunch - VI meets AI

Graham Truax - Speaker
Executive Director & EiR, Innovation Island

Dr. Sean Mark – Guest

Lauren Evanow – Guest

Sponsored by Innovation Island

The future is here! Ready or not… Advances in artificial intelligence will impact everything – period – full stop. Are we facing a true existential threat, or are we at the dawn of a wondrous utopia? With a brief flashback to “Futurescape” (VIEA 2017 & 2018) this plenary session promises to be lively! AI can now see, hear, speak, create art, make music, write code or poetry, and analyze billions of data points in the blink of an eye. We are at the precipice of a technological revolution that rivals the invention of the internet and the industrial revolution. As key decision-makers, you hold the power to either harness this change for unparalleled growth or watch from the sidelines.

October 25, 2023 01:30 pm

Action Lab Workshop 1: Regional Food Security

Scott Colbourne - Project Lead and Facilitator

Angela van den Hout - Facilitator
Principal, Seven Generations Indigenous Business Consulting

Sponsored by Island Coastal Economic Trust

Join our facilitated discussion addressing regional food security challenges. This workshop will explore solutions for the interconnected issues of food production, distribution, and accessibility. Summit delegates, along with leaders, experts, and knowledge keepers in the agricultural sector, will collaborate to identify actionable steps to enhance systems and progress food security. Together, let's delve into the vital intersections of agriculture, environment, community, and economy to support our region for generations to come.

Read the backgrounder here.

This workshop runs from 1:30 pm until 5 pm with a 30 min break at 3 pm.

October 25, 2023 01:30 pm

Cultivating the Future: The Next Generation of Farming on Vancouver Island

Moderator - Darren Stott
Principal Consultant, Greenchain Consulting

Kyomi Ito
Land Matcher - Vancouver Island & Gulf Islands, Young Agrarians

Katie Underwood
Farmer, Peas n' Carrots Farm

Tom Hyde
Owner, Mill Bay Farms

Sponsored by B.C. Centre for Agritech Innovation, a Simon Fraser University initiative

The future of farming on Vancouver Island is evolving, with a new generation of farmers at the forefront of innovation and sustainability. In this dynamic session, we will explore the changing landscape of agriculture on the island. We'll delve into the human geography of farmers today, the evolving culture of agriculture, and the critical need to engage and support new generations. Join us to discuss knowledge transfer, community building, and the organizations and initiatives making strides in cultivating the future of farming on Vancouver Island.

October 25, 2023 01:30 pm

Out of Office: A New Era of Workplace Flexibility

Moderator - Pauline Stevenson
President, Excel Career College

Jocelin Caldwell
HR Consultant & Owner, Reimagine Work

Sheri Gauthier
VP Human Resources, Coastal Community Credit Union

Lisa Hemingway
Co-Owner, Director of Creativity and Opportunities, Iilo Creative Alliance

Todd Nicklin, President, Enex Energy
President, Enex Energy

Sponsored by BC Ferries

Converging factors have shifted expectations about how we work and where we work. Work from home has become the new normal, but is this a long-term shift or a short term blip? Can companies remain competitive if they require employees to be physically present? We will hear from businesses across the spectrum and explore implications for regional economic development.

October 25, 2023 01:30 pm

On the Trail to Success: Collaborative Approaches for Enhancing Recreation Opportunities on Vancouver Island

Moderator - Leah Knutson
Economic Development and Tourism Manager, City of Campbell River

Pam Jorgenson, RPF
Land Use Forester, Mosaic

Cathy Robertson
General Manager, Community Futures Cowichan Region

Adam Speigel
United Riders of Cumberland (UROC) Board Member

Jon Watkin
Owner, Panache Cycling Sports

Sponsored by CHEK

The allure of Vancouver Island's breathtaking natural landscape continues to attract growing interest in outdoor recreation. This session delves into the importance of embracing collaborative and flexible approaches to capitalize on the diverse recreational opportunities the Island offers. Join the panelists to uncover innovative strategies to encourage and maximize recreational offerings on the Island and in turn create economic vibrancy for the region.

October 25, 2023 01:30 pm

Swipe Right for Success: Building Strategic Business Partnerships

Moderator - Pat Deakin
Economic Development Manager, City of Port Alberni

Alissa Assu
Owner, West Coast Wildflowers and Bear Essential Oil and Co-owner RavenSong Soap & Candle

Valerie Lamirande
Founder and Creative Director of RavenSong Soap & Candle

Patrick Schmidt
CEO, Huu-ay-aht Group of Businesses

Justin Viau
Partner, Scarlet Ibis Pub

Sponsored by Export Navigator

In today's dynamic business landscape, forming meaningful partnerships is essential for success. During this session, we will address critical questions that often arise in the realm of partnerships: How do you find the right partner for your organization? What does it take to be an exceptional partner and cultivate strong relationships? When is the optimal time to consider engaging in a partnership? We will delve into effective strategies that can guide you in identifying, nurturing, and evaluating partnerships that align with your organizational goals. Whether you're a seasoned professional or new to the world of partnerships, this session promises valuable insights and actionable takeaways to build strategic partnerships and explore best practices for partnership development.

October 25, 2023 01:30 pm

Innovation Island - Digital EARTH

Moderator - Graham Truax
Executive Director & EiR Innovation Island

Dogu Taskiran
Head of Technology, LlamaZOO Inc.

Sponsored by Innovation Island

Learn about cutting edge GIS, digital-twinning, data science, and how measuring key aspects of our biosphere are making remarkable advances in the care of our world.  

October 25, 2023 03:00 pm

Business to Business Exhibitors and Networking

Sponsored by Array

Meet with 35+ exhibitors while networking with delegates.

October 25, 2023 03:30 pm

Vancouver Island's Ocean Economy: Navigating a Course to Regional Leadership

Moderator - Stephanie King
Co-Founder / CEO, InWater Technologies

Jason Goldsworthy
Executive Director for the Centre for Ocean Applied Sustainable Technologies (COAST)

Brian Kingzett
Executive Director, BC Salmon Farmers Association

Mark Smith
President and CEO, Pacific Seaweed Industry Association

Sponsored by Nanaimo Port Authority

Vancouver Island's strategic geographical position presents a unique opportunity for the region to emerge as a leader in the flourishing ocean economy. In this session, we will explore the untapped potential of Vancouver Island's ocean resources and maritime assets. We'll discuss the challenges and opportunities that come with harnessing the ocean's potential and help chart a course to position Vancouver Island at the forefront of the rapidly growing blue economy. Collaboratively working towards a future where the region leads in sustainable ocean-based industries and economic prosperity.

October 25, 2023 03:30 pm

The Art of Economic Development: Unlocking Vancouver Island’s Creative Potential

Moderator - Illana Hester
Executive Director, Old School House and Co-chair

Aunalee Boyd-Good
Designer and Director, Ay Lelum The Good House of Design

Kathleen Darby
Executive Director, Creative City Network of Canada

Brandon Lepine
Regional Production Services Manager,INFILM

David Warburton
Artistic Executive Director, Port Theatre

Sponsored by HA Photography

Vancouver Island and the rural islands boast a vibrant creative economy, yet their full potential remains largely untapped. Our region teems with makers, artists, and creative businesses that not only enhance community well-being but also shape visitor experiences and lifestyle choices. In this session, we delve into how we can support and harness the economic strength of this creative sector to drive robust development. Join us as we explore how nurturing the creative economy can contribute to a prosperous, socially enriched, and culturally vibrant future.

October 25, 2023 03:30 pm

Small Business, Big Heart: The Resilience of Island Entrepreneurs in the Face of Uncertainty

Moderator - Kelly Masson
Business Advisor, WeBC

Erin Boggs
Co-owner, Robinson's Outdoor Store

Amy Ferris
Owner, White Rabbit Coffee and Black Rabbit Kitchen

Fred Jeffery
Owner, Lucid

Emese Toth-Harasztos
Owner, Freyja Croissant

Sponsored by Douglas Magazine

In this engaging session, we delve into the challenges confronting island entrepreneurs. These resilient individuals are at the forefront of the battle against an array of pressing issues, from staffing woes to COVID debt, surging inflation, and the relentless disruptions in supply chains.

Join us as we listen to firsthand accounts of island entrepreneurs who have encountered these hurdles head-on. They will share their stories of both adversity and triumph, offering valuable insights into the strategies they've employed to persevere.

The discussion will extend beyond the personal narratives, as we explore the critical role that policies and community support play in bolstering these island-based businesses. What measures can local communities adopt to lend a helping hand to these enterprises? What are the far-reaching consequences if these businesses are forced to close their doors?

October 25, 2023 03:30 pm

Not-For-Profits: The Economic Superheroes of our Communities

Moderator - Jolynn Green
Executive Director, Community Futures Central Island

Violet Hayes
Executive Director, Island Crisis Care & Nanaimo Bakery

Signy Madden
Director Government Relations, United Way BC

Kristi Riviat
Director, Partnerships and Programs, Scale Collaborative

Sponsored by Vancouver Island Conference Centre

In this session we shine a spotlight on the dynamic world of Nonprofit Organizations (NPOs). These organizations have long been integral to the economic fabric of our region, playing a pivotal role in addressing gaps, building community strength, and fostering innovation. In this session, we'll explore the diverse working models of NPOs, shed light on the profound impact they have through their dedicated workforce, volunteers, and the significant capital they mobilize to power this vital sector of our economy. Together, we can ensure a brighter future where nonprofits continue to play a pivotal role in shaping our shared prosperity.

October 25, 2023 03:30 pm

CANCELLED - Innovation Island - Vital WATER

Sponsored by Innovation Island

Clean it, protect it, save it, manage it, we can’t live without it! New technologies are providing on-the-ground solutions, here and abroad.

October 25, 2023 05:00 pm

Cocktails and Networking Opportunities

Sponsored by Fortis BC

Featuring Island Good wine, beer, cider and a special Island Good cocktail featuring Wayward Distillery.

October 25, 2023 06:00 pm

Appetizers and Plenary Speaker - Ken Coates

Ken Coates
Chair of the Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous Governance program, Yukon University

Moderator - Bruce Williams
CEO, Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce

Sponsored by Vancouver Island University

Future Unlimited: Vancouver Island and the Revitalization of Rural and Small-Town Canada

Rural and small-town Canada faces major challenges, ranging from the rise of city-state economies, the global shift from rural to urban areas, rapid technological change, the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and international political uncertainty.  This is not a time for caution and delay.  Competing successfully in a highly charged, fast-changing world requires a degree of boldness and creativity that has not always been a hallmark of Canadian life.  Rural and small-town Canada must seize opportunities, pursue aggressive collaboration, find new strengths with First Nations partners, and make advances in technology truly work for communities.  More than anything, these Canadian regions need to understand and project the unique qualities and advantages of rural and small-town life and rediscover find the confidence and determination to chart a new course in a crazy and chaotic world.  Vancouver Island, almost uniquely in Canada and with world-leading potential, is well-situated to respond to community aspirations at a time of international turmoil and economic upheaval.

October 25, 2023 07:00 pm

Island Good 5 Year Celebration Dinner with Live Music

Sponsored by Vancouver Island University

Experience Island Good cuisine and drinks while enjoying the musical talents of the "Sarah Terlesky Quartet." They will be performing a diverse range of Jazz classics, spanning Swing, Latin, Blues, and more.

October 25, 2023 09:00 pm

Sparkling Dessert Reception and Networking Opportunities

Sponsored by RBC

Wrap up the first day of the Summit by mingling and savouring Island Good Unsworth Charme de l'île and delectable desserts courtesy of Freyja - the croissant story.

October 26, 2023 07:30 am

Breakfast with Premier Eby

Premier David Eby

Moderator - Skye Ryan
Nanaimo Video Journalist, CHEK News

Sponsored by:

Join Premier Eby and Skye Ryan of Chek Media for this Q&A engagement

October 26, 2023 09:00 am

Action Lab Workshop 2: Community Design and Development

Project Lead and Facilitator - Scott Colbourne

Facilitator - Angela van den Hout
Principal, Seven Generations Indigenous Business Consulting

Sponsored by Hazelwood Group

Join our facilitated discussion to explore pathways toward a positive future. The urgent calls for climate change adaptation, combined with rising populations, cost of living challenges, and persistent effects of COVID-19, have intensified existing issues related to well-being, equitable prosperity, and a thriving economy. Summit delegates, alongside leaders, experts, and knowledge keepers in the community development sector, will collaborate to pinpoint actionable steps for system enhancement and the creation of opportunities for change. Together, let's delve into the crucial intersections of housing, environment, community design, and economy to support our region for generations to come.

Read the backgrounder here.

This workshop runs from 9:00 am until 12:30 pm.

October 26, 2023 09:00 am

Circularity in Action: How to turn Waste into Wealth

Moderator - Jill Doucette
Executive Director, Synergy Foundation

Tom Kinnear
Manager, Duncan Paving Co.

Georgia Lavender
Director of Program Operations, Synergy Foundation

Barry O’Riordan
Manager, Economic Development Cowichan

Paul Shorthouse
Managing Director, Circular Economy Leadership Canada

Sponsored by Blackberry Creative

The promise of a sustainable and regenerative future depends on the ability of organizations moving from a linear to a circular economic model. The circular economy emphasizes designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use for longer, and regenerating natural systems. It offers a pathway to decouple economic growth from resource consumption, thereby fostering sustainable prosperity. This session will start with some foundational definitions and principles, explore local resources for accelerating and incubating circularity, and share some live case studies of organizations at different stages of the journey. This panel discussion aims to host an engaging conversation, inspire new ideas, and foster a deeper understanding of the circular economy's transformative potential. Themes we expect to touch on include: examples of the positive environmental, social and economic impact of circular approaches, the importance of cross-sector collaboration and partnerships, identifying and navigating hurdles in the transition to a circular economy, and establishing meaningful metrics.

October 26, 2023 09:00 am

Psychedelic Medicine: Transforming Minds and Markets

Moderator - Philippe Lucas, PhD
President, SABI Mind Inc.

Shannon Dames
Professor and Chair, VIU Psychedelic Assisted Therapy Program

Spencer Hawkswell
Executive Director, TheraPsil

Lisa Ranken
Chief Operating Officer, Filament

Sponsored by Black Press Media

In recent years, there has been a resurgence in scientific research and clinical trials exploring the therapeutic benefits of psychedelic substances, such as psilocybin, MDMA, and LSD, for a wide range of mental health conditions, including depression, PTSD, anxiety, and addiction. The field of psychedelic medicine is an innovation in healthcare that also has potential for positive economic implications: reduced healthcare costs, increased productivity, tourism and wellness retreats, investment and innovation, and a reduction in criminal justice costs. This enlightening and thought-provoking session will present a brief overview of psychedelics in the Canadian context before a panel of leaders in the field will discuss a range of issues, including: the economic impact of this emerging industry; non-profit and for-profit operator perspectives; the challenges of stigma, legal restrictions, and cost; and potential beyond the ‘special access programs’ that dominate the scene today.

October 26, 2023 09:00 am

Indigenous Business and Economic Development: Achievements, Reflections, and Future Directions

Moderator - Ian Simpson
CEO, Petroglyph Development Group

Alison Evans
Co-founder, Gulf Island Seaplanes

Aaron Hamilton
Operations Manager, Lake Cowichan First Nation

JP Obbagy
Senior Manager Tourism Development, Homalco First Nation

Jason Wilson
Manager of Economic Development, We Wai Kai Nation

Sponsored by Port Alberni Port Authority

In this discussion, we bring together Indigenous business and economic development leaders to shed light on the inspiring successes, collaborative partnerships, and persistent challenges faced by Indigenous communities in the realm of economic growth.

Join us as we amplify the voices and experiences of Indigenous business and economic development leaders celebrating their achievements and learning from their insights. Gain a deeper appreciation for the challenges they confront and explore pathways to sustainable, inclusive business success that honours and celebrates Indigenous heritage and culture.

October 26, 2023 09:00 am

The Revolution of Professional Services

Moderator - Peter Van Dongen
Senior Manager, Business Development, MNP LLP

Regan McGrath
CEO, Metrics CPA

DJ Levy
VP Sales/Owner, ALPHA IT

Denise Lloyd
Founder and CEO, Engaged HR Inc.

Sponsored by CPA BC

The professional services sector quietly underpins every facet of Vancouver Island's economy, providing a wealth of skilled labor and expertise. From project managers and engineers to bankers, lawyers, and accountants, this sector fuels growth, yet its transformative potential often goes unnoticed. In this session, we will illuminate the diversity and reach of the professional services sector, sharing inspiring stories from companies and individuals who are redefining its landscape. Join us for a journey into the innovations and future possibilities of this hidden gem within our economy.

October 26, 2023 09:00 am

Innovation Island - Clean AIR

Moderator - Graham Truax
Executive Director & EiR Innovation Island

Susan Blanchet
Founder and CEO, Origen Air

Sponsored by Innovation Island

Our world and our communities are facing a new reality, air pollution knows no boundary. From carbon capture to home & office environments innovators are getting serious!

October 26, 2023 10:30 am

Business to Business Exhibitors and Networking

Sponsored by 5 Star Media Group/Bravenet Marketing

Meet with 35+ exhibitors while networking with delegates.

October 26, 2023 11:00 am

Economic Resilience through Disaster Preparedness: A Smart Investment for the Future

Jenn Houtby-Ferguson
Professor, Vancouver Island University

Alan Berry
Senior Wildfire Officer Prevention, BC Wildfire Service – Coastal Fire Centre

Hilary O’Reilly
Emergency Program Coordinator, District of Tofino

Jasica Grewal
Director of Community Impact and Investment, United Way British Columbia

Sponsored by Reliable Controls

In an ever-changing world marked by the increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters, the importance of disaster prevention and preparedness cannot be overstated. Join us for a crucial session that explores the economic rationale behind investing in measures to mitigate the risks posed by floods, earthquakes, heatwaves, wildfires, and other catastrophic events. We will delve into how these investments, when made wisely, not only save lives but also make sound economic sense by yielding benefits that far outweigh the costs. Together, we can foster a proactive approach to managing disaster risks, protecting lives and livelihoods, and building a more resilient and economically stable future.

October 26, 2023 11:00 am

From Roadblocks to Pathways: Moving People & Products

Moderator - Dr. Clint Abbott
Senior Manager, Public Sector Advisory, MNP

Brodie Guy
CEO, Island Coastal Economic Trust

Jason Michell
VP, Business Development, Port of Nanaimo

Cloy-e-iis, Dr. Judith Sayers
President of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council and Chancellor of Vancouver Island University

Sponsored by Pattison Media

As Vancouver Island's transportation demands continue to surge, it's evident that our existing infrastructure is struggling to keep pace. Today, we grapple with disruptions caused by both global and local challenges that are beyond our immediate control. It's crucial to ask: How can we forge a path forward that not only meets the evolving needs of our growing population but also addresses the pressing issue of climate change?

Join us for an engaging session that delves into the heart of Vancouver Island's transportation conundrum. In this thought-provoking discussion, we will explore innovative strategies and practical solutions to steer our island towards a resilient transportation future.

October 26, 2023 11:00 am

Preparing for the Future of Island Travel: Innovations in Sustainable & Regenerative Tourism

Moderator - Calum Matthews
VP of Sustainability and Strategy, 4VI

Alannah Davis
CEO, Dabble Cannabis Co

Janet Docherty
Co-owner, Merridale Cidery & Distillery

Denise Stys-Norman
Executive Director, Tourism Ucluele

Sponsored by Nanaimo Airport

Islanders have been looking to tourism for opportunities to revitalize their communities and create new jobs for decades. In recent years, however, the global travel sector has undergone significant changes that now demand proactive planning and capacity development on the regional level. While the impacts of climate change continue to threaten livelihoods through forest fires, road closures, and water restrictions, the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, shifting traveller behaviours and trends, and new expectations from stakeholders and rights holders are creating new challenges - as well as opportunities - that simply can't be ignored.

Join our panel of tourism innovators for an insightful session as we explore future-focussed strategies that are helping to position Vancouver Island as a leading destination for sustainable and regenerative travel.  We will investigate ways in which Island-based tourism operators are intentionally reinvesting in their people, communities, and ecosystems to mitigate the environmental impact of visitors, create internationally unique experiences, and promote a more inclusive, sustainable, and vibrant tourism industry.

October 26, 2023 11:00 am

Walking the Path Together: Indigenous Partnerships and Sustainable Forestry

Moderator - Cindy Stern
President, Stern Sustainable Strategies Ltd.

Eli Enns
Co-Founder CEO and President The IISAAK OLAM Foundation

Chief John Jack
Chief Councillor, Huu-ay-aht First Nations

Doug Mosher, RPF
CEO, ATLI Resources and Atli Chip Limited Partnership

Seanna McConnell
Vice President, Indigenous Partnerships, Western Forest Products

Sponsored by Western Forest Products

This discussion centres on the relationship between the forestry sector and Indigenous communities as they collectively transition operations, governance, and innovation toward a sustainable future. We will explore critical themes vital to the sector's future sustainability, including support mechanisms, diversification of economic streams, ongoing innovation, and the profound significance of Indigenous partnerships in achieving sustainable forestry practices. Join us as we envision a harmonious future where Indigenous values, economic growth, and forest health coexist.

October 26, 2023 11:00 am

Innovation Island - Manage FIRE

Moderator - Graham Truax
Executive Director & EiR Innovation Island

Rod Szasz
Founder & CEO, FireBozz

Sponsored by Innovation Island

Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer, FIRE season! How can we better address the impacts and challenges of something we can’t control…

October 26, 2023 12:30 pm

Closing Lunch

Susan Mowbray
Partner, MNP's Consulting Group

Moderator - Dan Hurley
Principal, Hurley Martin Group

Sponsored by MNP 

The State of the Island Economic Report goes digital. Susan Mowbray,  Partner, MNP's Consulting Group will lead us through the launch of the digital dashboard and the 9th edition of the report.