RAVI Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economy Recovery and Innovation, reacting to the release of Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey for April 2021 on Friday, said: “The Labour Force Survey for the month of April showed B.C. lost 43,000 jobs as the impacts of the Provincial Health Officer’s temporary orders were felt by businesses and workers.”
He noted that the decline in April followed 11 consecutive months of job gains and that B.C. currently leads all major provinces in job recovery.
Kahlon said: “The vast majority of the job losses last month were part time and in accommodation and food services, as well as information, culture and recreation. These sectors were directly impacted by Dr. Bonnie Henry’s health orders, known as the ‘circuit breaker,’ designed to bend the curve of B.C.’s third wave.
“Knowing these new orders would present hardships for many businesses, our government put in place the Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant, which provides financial support of up to $20,000 for impacted operators. We also provided additional support measures for the restaurant sector.
“There is more than $125 million available in the Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant. This funding will support 20,000 businesses and help them cover costs such as rent and wages for their employees. This grant is one of many supports available to businesses. Overall, the B.C. government has provided, per capita, the most support for people, businesses and communities in the country.
“The circuit breaker has impacted young and racialized workers and the pandemic has disproportionately impacted these communities. Our government has taken action to provide supports like the StrongerBC Future Leaders Program and targeted supports for businesses owned by Indigenous, Black and people of colour. We are committed to supporting these communities and will listen and reflect their views in the work we do.
“While April was a difficult month for many, we’re seeing positive signs this will only be a temporary setback as we continue to move toward recovery. This week, we saw a major announcement that B.C. has secured a new icebreaker shipbuilding contract, as well as recent expansion announcements by companies such as Amazon and Microsoft, creating thousands of new jobs.
“Our businesses have adapted in so many ways this past year. This includes our restaurant sector quickly pivoting to open and expand patios. Our tourism sector has positioned itself to be ready for when we can travel, and many businesses, no matter the sector, have embraced the online world so they can continue to sell their products to people all over the world. Our businesses across B.C. have been impressive, and we should commend and support them: BuyBC and BuyLocal.
“Most importantly, we’re seeing that the health orders and restrictions are working, as our daily case counts have gone down significantly. We must continue our efforts, follow Dr. Henry’s orders and get registered for your vaccine, so in the near future we can reopen our economy and build a strong recovery for everyone in B.C.”