Government wrong on TOIFA gala job claims, say NDP

The B.C. NDP is questioning the government’s claim that the pre-election Times of Indian Awards generated an estimated 6,000 jobs, suggesting instead that the true number of jobs created by the $11-million extravaganza can be counted in the dozens.

The government, however, is standing by the tally, noting that the numbers, provided by the Times Group, used an “industry standard formula” that includes direct and indirect jobs. In a statement Tuesday, the government said the number of direct hires was 1,200.

“While indirect workers may have held jobs prior to the event, they are included whenever employment number from an event are reported out, as the Times Group was following industry norms,” said Jobs Minister Shirley Bond.

“According to the Time Group’s estimate, the number of direct hires is over 1,200 with the balance of the 6,000 being indirect work.”

According to a breakdown provided by the Times Group, 2,450 jobs were created for TOIFA-specific events held at B.C. Place, the River Rock Casino, the PNE and Vancouver Community College.

Other jobs created included: 120 for limo services, five at the airport, two fashion designers, 25 caterers, 400 for security and traffic management, 300 for stage and set design, and 50 for “additional contracted cabs.”
A breakdown of what jobs were direct or indirect was not provided.

NDP jobs critic Harry Bains scoffed at the numbers, saying that the Christy Clark government is scrambling to justify spending over $10 million of taxpayers’ money on an event that was clearly nothing more than electioneering.

He claimed that the bulk of the jobs cited were already in existence prior to the awards show coming to town.
“I think it [the number of jobs generated by TOIFA] would be in the dozens, not thousands,” said Bains. “Just like when the premier said 400 million people in B.C. would watch this, the real number came down to about 29,000. It’s the same thing here.

“I’m surprised they haven’t mentioned all the media who covered the event.”

In her statement, Bond said that awards show saw $9 million injected into B.C.’s economy.

“The millions injected into our economy as a direct, and indirect, result of TOIFA make hosting the awards well worth the investment – but it’s just a start,” Bond said.
“TOIFA is a catalyst for building awareness of B.C. to Indian business, deepening relationships and kick-starting enhanced trade activities.”