Meeting strengthens India-B.C. partnerships

Minister of Finance Michael de Jong met with Indian Finance Minister, Minister of Corporate Affairs in the cabinet of India, Arun Jaitley,  in New Delhi to discuss ways to continue to strengthen economic ties between India and British Columbia.
“I was impressed by Minister Jaitley’s interest in mutual economic investments in both India and Canada by companies, such as Indian Oil. India is an important economy with a young and growing middle class that represents an important opportunity for B.C. partnership, trade and investment, particularly in the areas of forestry, energy, international education and clean technology, ” says Minister of Finance Michael de Jong.

The meeting builds on bilateral discussions and activities since the visit by Prime Minister Modi to Vancouver in 2015, where the prime minister and senior Indian government officials showed great support and enthusiasm for formalizing relations between India and British Columbia. Meeting topics included: the recent approval by the Canadian federal government of the Pacific North West LNG project; the successful issuance of B.C.’s Indian Rupee (INR) bond; and future opportunities to expand two-way trade and investment.

By 2030, India is expected to be the world’s third-largest economy behind the United States and China. By 2030, India is expected to be the world’s third-largest economy behind the United States and China.

The Government of British Columbia has been actively working to make India and B.C. long-term partners in economic and social prosperity. It’s a strategy that’s focused on:

  • Building the foundation of the India-B.C. relationship based on mutual economic growth;
  • Identifying targeted opportunities for B.C. to help address specific needs of the Indian market and;
  • Making India top-of-mind among B.C.’s exporters.

On Sept. 9, 2016, British Columbia was the first foreign government to issue a bond in the Indian Rupee (INR) offshore market – or what is known colloquially as a Masala bond. The bond issue demonstrates the Province’s confidence in the outlook for India, and positions B.C. to participate in internationalization of the INR and India’s economy.

B.C. exports to India have jumped from $201 million in 2011 to $623 million in 2015, making India B.C.’s fifth-largest trading partner.  Real GDP in India was 7.2% in 2014, and estimated to grow to 7.6% in 2015, and in 2016 is expected to be 7.4%.

In addition, with Budget 2016, the Government of British Columbia committed $5 million over three years to promote a stronger B.C. wood brand in India. This investment is helping B.C. companies establish themselves as the world’s leading suppliers of sustainably harvested wood products to a market that includes the world’s largest middle class.

British Columbia’s work to build a strong relationship with India has proven successful. Earlier this week, Air Canada launched a direct flight from Vancouver to Delhi, demonstrating that India and B.C. are closer than ever before. This flight now provides a direct link for businesses to come together, and families to stay connected.

Winners Announced- 2016 Surrey International Trade Awards

Surrey, B.C. – The 8th Surrey Board of Trade, Surrey International Trade Awards Reception took place on May 12th drawing over 250 business people from Surrey and the Lower Mainland to celebrate Surrey’s import and export companies.

“This event really speaks to the reality that Surrey businesses are part of the global economic equation. Countries cannot live in isolation. They have to mutually share their prosperity, technical know-how and undertake trade in order to sell their products. The world economy is inter-dependent. Economic progress of a nation depends upon its ties with other countries,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade.

“That is why the Surrey Board of Trade is the only Board of Trade/Chamber of Commerce with an International Trade Centre in our office, creating global business connections for local businesses. Last year, we expanded our trade documentation services and business development services.”

This year’s winner under Small Business Category (Revenue under $15 million) was Nana’s Kitchen and under Large Business Category (Revenue over $15 million) was Coast Clear Wood Ltd.

Coast Clear Wood Ltd.

Coast Clear Wood is a specialty wood products manufacturer and marketing company based in Surrey, with sales of approximate $28 million in 2015. They buy logs from the major coastal forest products companies and cut them into custom products for a very specific customer base. Their motto is “We strive for excellence” as they execute against our value proposition of matching a customers’ unique lumber requirements with the available raw material supply. They sell to domestic and international marketplaces with their products being used in the construction industry as well as in the manufacturing process for windows, doors, flooring, cabinetry, furniture and much more.

 Nana’s Kitchen

Nana’s Kitchen is strategically addressing the export market with their brand difference of “convenient comfort foods with a global taste”. With 75% of their market revenues being derived from the export market, Nana’s Kitchen produces global taste profile food products for grocery retail and food service sectors. Unlike many of their competitors that promote just samosas, Nana’s Kitchen proudly supplies handmade savory and sweet entrée items that are inspired by the culture, caring, and kitchen memories of many ‘Nanas’ all over the world.

More recently, Surrey Board of Trade Business and International Trade Coordinator Luke Arathoon completed the International Chamber of Commerce World Chamber Federation Accreditation program. The Surrey Board of Trade is part of a unique and truly global forum uniting the global network of more than 12,000 chambers and Board of Trades’ from every country around the world. Through the accreditation, best practices, the development of new global products and services for chambers, and international partnerships between chambers and other stakeholders, is put in place helping local businesses grow in international markets. The Surrey Board of Trade’s accreditation reinforces the SBOT’s competency and professionalism in issuing international documentation.

“Luke Arathoon is the 2nd person in Canada to receive this Accreditation, and the only one in Western Canada. This accreditation will ensure that trade documents are reviewed in depth to ensure smooth receipt of products around the globe.”

“Luke Arathoon is the 2nd person in Canada to receive this Accreditation, and the only one in Western Canada. This accreditation will ensure that trade documents are reviewed in depth to ensure smooth receipt of products around the globe.”

Real estate cheating scandal claims mortgage broker

Man who allegedly wrote licensing exam for Ryan Rana revealed; Rana on leave as ‘special constable’

By Jason Proctor, CBC News

A bizarre B.C. real estate scandal has widened with the suspension of the mortgage broker who allegedly posed as Langley realtor Ryan Rana for his licensing exam.

And the CBC has also learned that as a result of the allegations, Rana has been placed on administrative leave from his other job — as a provincial special constable at B.C.’s Forensic Psychiatric Hospital.

Ted Aulak aka Ryan Rana?

B.C.’s registrar of mortgage brokers suspended the registration of Indeep Singh Aulak after being contacted about the situation by the real estate council. Aulak’s professional name is Ted.

The council claims Rana admitted to sending someone else to write the Real Estate Trading Services exam in his place last December.

Ryan Rana was licensed as a realtor in February after an imposter passed his licensing exam with a score of 90 per cent. (Twitter)

According to an order posted on the Financial Institutions Commission website, investigators matched Aulak to photographs of the person who purported to be Rana for the purposes of writing the test.

​The allegations come amidst wider concerns about regulation of the real estate industry in British Columbia. A number of scandals have emerged in recent months involving the actions of unscrupulous realtors driven by greed to cash in on the province’s white hot market.

A panel of experts is currently considering, among other things, whether or not the industry should continue to be self-regulated.

Guarding the mentally ill

An archived copy of Rana’s website describes the 25-year-old as having a “background in community law enforcement and public health care.”

It turns out that he is a special constable at the Coquitlam Forensic Psychiatric Hospital which houses people who have been declared not criminally responsible for offences because of mental disorders.

Perhaps the facility’s most notorious patient is Allan Schoenborn, a father who killed his three children in 2008. Controversy has surrounded the decision to allow him escorted outings into the community.

Special constables like Rana would be tasked with ensuring the security of patients and the public during the course of those outings.

A spokesperson with the Provincial Health Services Authority says Rana has been placed on leave with pay pending the outcome of the real estate council’s regulatory process.

Referred to lawyer or notary for identity affidavit

Aulak’s suspension order provides new details about the investigation into the impersonation.

The Sauder School of Business at the University of B.C. administers the licensing exams for both realtors and mortgage brokers. In order to take the test, candidates have to provide a form which includes a passport photo.

They also have to present other photo identification on the day of the exam.

The first time someone claiming to be Rana attempted to take the test last November, they were turned away because their appearance didn’t match a driver’s licence photograph.

The Sauder School of Business at UBC administers the licensing exams for both realtors and mortgage brokers.

“He was referred to a lawyer or a notary to get further assurance regarding his identity,” the order says.

“The person who identified as Mr. Rana then provided Sauder with an affidavit.”

A ‘Ryan Rana’ was then allowed to write the multiple choice exam in December and passed with a mark of 90 per cent.

According to the order, the passport photo submitted along with Aulak’s exam shows him with a full beard and turban. The one attached to Rana’s exam is clean shaven.

‘The two photos were a likely match’

The allegations came to light when someone contacted the real estate council to say the person pictured on Rana’s website was not the same person who wrote his licensing exam.

“The council advised that they conducted social media searches of Mr. Rana, and found that Mr. Aulak and Mr. Rana are friends on a social media website. The social media website depicted photos of Mr. Aulak,” the order says.

“The council also engaged a private investigator who compared the social media photos to the Rana affidavit using photo matching software. The investigator determined that the two photos were a likely match.”

Investigators also spoke to a Surrey photo studio proprietor who took the passport photo attached to Rana’s real estate exam ticket. He provided a matching picture — “commissioned by a person with the last name of ‘Aulakh’.”

Rana received his real estate licence in February and Aulak was licensed as a mortgage broker in early April. According to the order, Rana’s website refers to Aulak as a mortgage specialist.

Rana was also advertising a listing for a Surrey property owned by Aulak.

Both are suspended pending full disciplinary hearings of the allegations. Neither man could be reached for comment.

2016 speech from the Throne outlines government’s economic agenda

“Steadfast. Resilient. And the courage to get to yes,” – The Honourable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, Throne Speech 2016. Her Honour, remarking on the qualities that will ensure the continued economic success of our province. Read the speech in its entirety here,

In her speech from the Throne today, Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon outlined the government’s agenda to create jobs and opportunity throughout British Columbia, and continue to grow a diverse economy to sustain and expand the vital services that British Columbians depend on.

In the session ahead, government will continue to stand up for British Columbians, and for the communities and industries that not only build this province, but drive prosperity.

By focusing on key sectors of the economy and expanding new markets in clean energy and technology with British Columbia’s Asia-Pacific partners, the government has the opportunity to eliminate the operating debt in just four years, paving the path towards a debt-free BC.

“With a strong, diverse and growing economy, and four consecutive balanced budgets, we can plan for future growth, create a climate where job-creating businesses can thrive – while continuing to make investments in our future,” said Premier Christy Clark. “And while we’re planning for future growth, a growing economy means we also have the ability to make a difference in people’s lives today.”

During the spring session, government will also focus on building safe, thriving communities, continue to work with the federal government to secure the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement, and ensure First Nations are equal partners in B.C.’s growing economy.

Proposed changes cut red tape by eliminating unnecessary sworn statements

VICTORIA – Attorney General Suzanne Anton introduced Bill No. 5 today, the Miscellaneous Statutes (Signed Statements) Amendment Act. The proposed changes cut red tape by replacing the need for sworn statementswith a simple, signed statement where appropriate.

“These amendments are a welcome measure for British Columbians. Signed statements, instead of sworn statements, will ensure legal standards are met, while reducing red tape and keeping more money in the pockets of British Columbian families and businesses – something we can all
appreciate,” says Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice .

If passed, the amendmentswould reduce cost, delay and inconvenience for British Columbians bysimplifying the law and making it easier to comply with legal requirements. This reduction in red tape would allow individuals to attest to the factsand details they provide in an application or similar document – by way of asigned rather than a sworn statement – reducing the requirement for theservices of a legal professional or commissioner of oaths, in some cases.

For many British Columbians, efficiencies would be gained in dealing withnon-court-related matters. For example, an application to enroll a child ina francophone school, to receive certain forms of income assistance, or tofinalize financial reporting in various applications, could be attested to by the applicant simply using their signature. It would be an offence tomake a false statement.

“British Columbians deserve easy access to justice services. These amendments make it simpler for people to complete their legal business, saving them time and frustration. Moving from sworn statements to signed statements is just one more way the B.C. government is reducing red tape for British Columbians,” says Coralee Oakes, Minister of Small Business, Red Tape Reduction and Minister Responsible for Liquor Distribution Branch


The changes would amend 23 statutes from across government. Among the actsimpacted by the amendment are the School Act, the Credit Union Incorporation Act, the Weed Control Act, the Elections Act and the Hospital Insurance Act

Cherries Jubilee! B.C. celebrates record year for cherry exports

British Columbia’s cherry exports  business has had a remarkable increase in 2015, says minister of  Agriculture.

“Today, I am pleased to report in 2015, B.C. cherry exports have increased dramatically from the previous year to 13,600 metric tonnes (56% increase) to a value of $91.7 million (70% increase), says British Columbia’s Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick, in his statement regarding 2015 export statistics.

“The data also includes a significant rise in sour cherry exports from $2.7 million in 2014 to $11.2 million in 2015,says  Minister Norm Letnick.  “Focusing on high-value B.C. products like late-season cherries is key to growing the B.C. government’s agrifood sector to a $15-billion-a-year industry by 2020.

“In 2014, I was honoured to lead the B.C. delegation with B.C. cherry industry representatives on a federal trade mission to China that led to full, unimpeded access for fresh cherries into China. As a direct result of our efforts, the export value of fresh, sweet cherries to China has more than doubled from 2014 to 2015, rising from $9.9 million to $24 million.

“We are going to build on this momentum. Thanks to the close working relationship with our provincial cherry industry, we look forward to exploring new opportunities with Pacific Rim countries that recently signed the Trans Pacific Partnership.

“British Columbians have always known about this tasty, sweet fruit from the Okanagan. The secret is out. Together we want to share B.C. cherries with the world.”

Parliamentary Secretary Gill Meets with CEO of Canadian SME TaraSpan in India

Delhi, India – Parm Gill, Canadian Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, (left) meets with Mike Manson, CEO and co-founder of TaraSpan, (right) and Parminder Singh, Vice President of Sales for North and South India of TaraSpan, to discuss challenges and opportunities for Canadian small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) doing business in India.

The meeting provided the opportunity for Parliamentary Secretary Gill to witness how TaraSpan, a facilitator of global technology trade between India and the rest of the world, is helping Canadian companies to access priority sectors in India, including information and communication technology and sustainable technologies. It also allowed Parliamentary Secretary Gill the opportunity to gain insight into the interests and concerns of Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises doing business in India.

Founded in Ottawa in 2005, TaraSpan is now a multinational company with four offices and more than 200 clients in India alone. One of Canada’s top business leaders, Sir Terry Matthews, is Taraspan’s chairman of the board.

India is a priority market under Canada’s Global Markets Action Plan, the government’s blueprint for creating jobs and opportunities for Canadians through trade.

Canada’s strong network of trade support in India includes eight Canadian trade commissioner offices and five EDC representatives.

Parliamentary Secretary Gill is in Delhi and Chandigarh, India, from March 2 to 5, 2015.

Surrey Board of Trade announces 2014 Surrey Business Award Winners

Surrey, B.C. – On Thursday, November 7, 2014, the Surrey Board of Trade recognized six of Surrey’s best businesses in a variety of different categories.  The Surrey Business Excellence Awards, with Presenting Sponsors Kwantlen Polytechnic University and TD Bank, and media sponsor the Leader Newspaper, celebrated their 16th year, with more than 350 people in attendance.  Master of Ceremonies, Pamela Martin, guided guests through the evening. Congratulations to the winners of the 2014 Surrey Board of Trade Surrey Business Excellence Awards!

“The Surrey Board of Trade focused on the strength and innovation within every entrepreneur to take an idea and use it as the foundation for building a business. They are inspirational – from the very small business to the large business to the not for profit service organization,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade.

The judging team’s evaluation assessed the following competencies: Organizational Profile, Leadership, Strategy Development and Planning, Customer Focus and Market Knowledge, Employee Learning and People Focus, Process Management, Supplier/Partner Focus, Community Involvement, Overall business Performance.

1-10 employees Winner:  Pacific Land Group
Sponsored by Copytek Print Centres

11 – 40 employees Winner:  Eagle Cinematronics Inc. (Cinematronix)
Sponsored by BM Group of Companies

41+ employees Winner:  FinancialCAD Corporation (FINCAD)
Sponsored by Fruiticana

New Business of the Year Winner:  Surrey Kids Physio Group
Sponsored by Century Group

Not-for-Profit Winner:  Surrey Christmas Bureau
Sponsored by Abbotsford International Airport

Business Person of the Year Winner:  Vikram Vij
Sponsored by Hamilton Duncan Armstrong & Stewart

Last night’s event also saw the inaugural Corporate Social Responsibility Recognition Award presented to Leed Advisors Inc. This award was created to recognize a business working to improve the lives of their employees and to enhance the civic environment in which they operate, through participation in community programs, partnerships with community organizations, volunteering, educational and/or environmental initiatives, and/or for creating a positive environment for employees.

The event took the form of an “Academy Awards” style dinner, and was held at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel from 6:00 – 9:30 p.m.