Madam Speaker, I am happy to respond to the question from the hon. member for North Island—Powell River regarding our new regional economic development agency for British Columbia. I appreciate her making this important request for constituents, and her emphasis on rural, because I come from a rural riding. I also appreciate her support on the support we are providing for salmon, because that affects my riding as well.
Our government understands the importance of investing in communities. We know that the regional development agencies are often the best vehicles for these investments. That sentiment has been reinforced throughout this pandemic. From the outset, the RDAs have been on the ground across Canada helping businesses weather the effects of the pandemic.
Through the $2 billion regional relief and recovery fund, we have helped businesses stay afloat and protect jobs. The RRRF has been important in western Canada, which is already facing unique economic challenges, as the member just mentioned very nicely.
Under the very strong leadership and successful actions of the Minister of Economic Development to date, the RRRF has delivered more than $775 million to approximately 9,000 businesses in western Canada. Thanks to this support, we have helped protect more than 40,000 jobs across western Canada, including more than 15,000 jobs in B.C.
Our RRRF funding in B.C. has gone to all parts of the province, in part, thanks to B.C. Community Futures offices, which have delivered more than $60 million to more than 1,400 rural B.C. businesses impacted by the pandemic.
As we build back better, our government understands that we need to continue delivering support directly to our regions and communities. In B.C. and across western Canada, we understand there are unique economic realities, which the member mentioned, and the one-size-fits-all-approach no longer works.
In the 2020 fall economic statement, we announced we would be creating a new regional economic development agency for British Columbia, with new dedicated funding to help businesses and communities in British Columbia continue to grow and create good jobs across the province. In budget 2021, over and above $1 billion for tourism, we backed up with real investments. We are going to provide this new B.C. RDA with $553.1 million over five years, starting this year, 2021-22; and $110.6 million ongoing. These investments will support the new agency and ensure our government is there to help businesses in B.C. grow and create good jobs for British Columbia.
As we establish this new RDA, we are continuing our commitment, ensuring it is driven by the local realities that the member mentioned. The Minister of Economic Development and the parliamentary secretary for the new B.C. agency, the member for Burnaby North—Seymour, have met with and heard from a diverse number of economic development thought leaders, including those on Vancouver Island and the surrounding coastal communities. Their guidance will ensure the new B.C. RDA is built by and for British Columbians, with a greater local presence, improved service and more locally engaged staff.
We are still in the early days of this new B.C. RDA, which means we cannot yet determine exactly how it will look or where the offices will be located. However, I can say with certainty that our government listened to the local stakeholders and when the new Pacific regional development agency opens its doors, it will allow our government to play a robust role as adviser, investor and, most important, a partner for businesses and communities across British Columbia.