The Provincial Brick

March 1st, 2022 1 Minutes

BCRIC (commonly known as BRICK!) stands for the British Columbia Resources Investment Corporation. It was a holding company formed under the guidance of William R. Bennett, leader of the British Columbia Social Credit Party and Premier of British Columbia at the time.

BCRIC took over the ownership of various sawmills and mines bailed out and purchased by the B.C. government. The most famous act of the British Columbia Resources Investment Corporation was the distribution in 1979 of five free common shares of the corporation to every British Columbian. At the time, the worth of the shares fluctuated between five and six dollars. British Columbia was actively encouraged to buy more and to boost the Provincial economy.

Westar Group Ltd. was formed on February 22nd, 1978, and assumed the assets of BCRIC. Unfortunately, the company ran into financial difficulties, and the value of the BCRIC shares sank like the proverbial brick. 

In 1995 the shares were consolidated at a ratio of 125 to one. Then in June 1997, the consolidated shares were subjected to a compulsory buy-out by the Jim Pattison Group at a fraction of a penny per original share. Further, this buy-out had a 10-year limit which expired on June 30th, 2007.

One of the most common public inquiries we receive at the Columbia Basin Institute of Regional History comes from family members processing the estates of loved ones. What are the BCRIC shares, and what are they worth now? 

The final answer is that after the June 30th, 2007 date, outstanding share certificates no longer have any monetary value. Instead, they are a historical document speaking to our province’s political and economic history.

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