RAVI Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economy Recovery and Innovation, in response to the release of Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey for November, said on Friday: “From the outset of this pandemic, our government understood that the key to building a foundation of a strong recovery is a strong public health response focused on keeping people safe.
“The Labour Force Survey for November showed B.C.’s economy continuing its upward swing, with another 23,900 jobs gained throughout the province.
“Since the pandemic’s most severe impact on the economy in April, B.C. has had substantial job growth for seven consecutive months, bringing our total employment to 98.5% of pre-pandemic levels. This is the highest job recovery rate of any of Canada’s four largest provinces.
“Additionally, B.C.’s unemployment rate has fallen to 7.1%, well below the national average of 8.5%.
“However, we know there are businesses still struggling and it’s going to be many months before vaccines can get to everyone in British Columbia. Until then, we are focused on building a foundation of recovery that works for everyone in this province.
“B.C.’s recovery plan includes funding and measures to strengthen health care, create good jobs and opportunities for people, and help businesses come back stronger.
“Thousands of B.C. businesses will receive direct supports from the various measures outlined in our economic recovery plan.
“These supports provide direct funding to hard-hit communities and businesses, making it easier for them to invest in the people and capital they need.”
For information on services and benefits available to help people and businesses through the pandemic, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/COVIDgovernmentbenefits
For non-health related information, including financial, child care and education supports, travel, transportation and essential service information, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/Covid-19
Or call 1 888 COVID19 (1 888 268-4319) between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. (Pacific time), seven days a week.
HOWEVER, the BC Liberals noted that numbers released by Statistics Canada show that 37,400 fewer British Columbians were working last month compared to pre-pandemic levels in February, with nine per cent of jobs lost to the pandemic yet to be recovered. It also continues to highlight the disturbing trend of women being disproportionally impacted by the pandemic with November’s employment gains dominated by men over 25.
Todd Stone, BC Liberal Critic for Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation called on the NDP government to immediately focus on accelerating job recovery especially for women and bridging gaps in supports urgently needed by people and businesses.
“Women are bearing the brunt of job losses and we expect immediate action, not more delays from John Horgan and the NDP who have been in power throughout the pandemic. This government must be held accountable for the lack of progress in delivering an effective job creation plan,” said Stone. “Having 37,400 fewer jobs compared to the pre-COVID benchmark is far too many. Now is the time for innovation, not more excuses from the NDP after having already delayed B.C.’s economic recovery for two months with an unnecessary election. They must come up with a sector by sector plan to support industries devastated by impacts from the pandemic, in particular tourism.”
The NDP government has so far failed to give the tourism industry the lifeline they’ve been asking for.
“The NDP government hasn’t done enough to help B.C.’s hard-hit tourism sector, which is in dire need,” said Teresa Wat, BC Liberal Critic for Tourism, Arts and Culture. “Thousands of tourism operators have struggled without a recovery plan from the government. Today’s numbers don’t capture business closures resulting from the most recent, province-wide health orders. The tourism industry is heading into a bleak winter if the NDP continues its delay strategy.”
After missing the deadline for the Second Quarterly Update, the new Finance Minister recently stated she was considering delaying her first provincial budget by weeks.
“The holiday season is in front of us and people can’t wait for the government to deliver on much-needed supports,” added Stone. “It is critical for the fall economic update and the 2021 budget to be delivered on schedule as families, non-profits and small businesses need a robust and responsive economic program not only to financially survive, but thrive. We need investment in child care programs so that women can return to the labour force. No British Columbian wants to see this economic nightmare further dragged into the new year.”