"What I enjoyed most about my time with the BC Public Service was the privilege of serving the people of B.C. while having the opportunity to work on some fascinating, challenging and intellectually stimulating projects."
Don White received the Legacy Premier’s Award in 2015 and was inducted into the Hall of Excellence in the same year. Don joined the BC Public Service full-time in 1987. He has worked in Intergovernmental Relations, the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources (Indigenous negotiations), the federal government (liaison officer to the Prime Minister of Singapore during Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference), the Competition Council and various incarnations of the economic development ministry.
Under Don’s visionary leadership, significant trade agreements were negotiated that will forever impact the competitiveness and economy of British Columbia. His legacy includes the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) between British Columbia and Alberta and its successor, the New West Partnership Trade Agreement. These are the most comprehensive trade agreements negotiated and implemented anywhere, domestically or internationally.
Don designed the ground-breaking approach to negotiating trade agreements that broke the mold of previous trade agreements and set a new standard for true market access and transparency. Consequently, the TILMA is just 36 pages long, whereas the National Agreement on Internal Trade is 218 pages. Given this approach’s clarity, small businesses do not need a lawyer to understand the agreement. The Economist magazine hailed TILMA as “barrier-busting” and Don continued to lead his team to do just that: knock down barriers that hinder the success of B.C. businesses.
Don supported the BC Legislative Internship Program and was an intern himself. He was responsible for attracting many to the BC Public Service and mentoring the next generation of public service leaders. Don has been a visionary, a leader, a mentor and an exemplary public service employee. He leaves a legacy that forever will have a positive impact on the economy of British Columbia. He is very highly respected by his staff and colleagues not only across British Columbia, but Canada as well.