Province-Surrey partnership helping in developing new strategies to help local manufacturers, create good jobs

Shane Simpson

A partnership between the Province and the City of Surrey is developing new strategies to help local manufacturers grow their operations and create good jobs.

With $125,832 in funding from the Province, the city has hired a research consultant to identify and address current labour market challenges within the sector and identify strategies to create more jobs to support industry.

An initial study commissioned jointly by the City of Surrey, Simon Fraser University and Kwantlen Polytechnic University found that the current size of the advanced manufacturing and innovation economy workforce in Surrey could grow by as much as 134% over the next decade.

Surrey is home to a wide range of manufacturing businesses, spanning from robotics and technology companies to machinery and furniture producers. The new study will focus on working with industry and local academic institutions to close the technical skill shortage in the sector, as well as address emerging skills requirements as a result of rapid and disruptive technological developments associated with the digitalization of B.C.’s economy.

By investing in forward-looking strategies today, it is possible to ensure that B.C. remains one of the most competitive jurisdictions in North America for technology talent and businesses. The study will also look at investment opportunities across the Lower Mainland, with a focus on Surrey. Research will be carried out through focus groups, expert interviews and literature review.

The City of Surrey has also partnered with its two local universities, Simon Fraser University and Kwantlen Polytechnic University, on this project, which has the endorsement of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Association. It is expected to be completed by April 2018.

This strategy is a Labour Market Partnership funded by the Employment Program of BC’s Community and Employer Partnerships program, which supports projects that share labour market information and increase employability throughout the province.

Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, said on Monday: “This project will help the city attract and retain skilled workers and it will give local manufacturing and innovation companies the opportunity to expand their operations and create good jobs in the region. I’m glad to be here today to formalize this partnership with the City of Surrey. We will keep making investments, working with partners across the province to create good jobs and build a sustainable economy that works for all of us.”

Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, and MLA for Surrey-Whalley, said: “Part of my mandate is to establish our province as a preferred location for new and emerging technologies by supporting venture capital investment in B.C., and Surrey is a great place for that to happen. By funding projects like this, we are building a better B.C.”

Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner said: “Transforming Surrey into a metropolitan centre means investing in ensuring our residents have the necessary skills to support the future of our city’s economic growth. With a third of our population under the age of 19, equipping our youth is of paramount importance. We welcome the Province’s support and are proud to partner with Simon Fraser University and Kwantlen Polytechnic University to develop industry-relevant and leading-edge training programs for our expanding population.”


Quick Facts:

  • Nearly 24,000 of Surrey’s labour force works in the manufacturing sector, almost 3% above the provincial average.
  • The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Association reports manufacturing wages are 15% higher than the overall average for all industries.
  • Manufacturing also provides a multiplier effect to the economy: every $1 of manufacturing generates $3 in total economic activity.