Jobs Plan Still Working Says Bond
Prince George, B.C. – Jobs Minister Shirley Bond remains optimistic about B.C.’s economy despite LNG Canada’s decision to put off making a final investment decision on its proposed Kitimat operation.
“Well obviously we’re disappointed but I think as a government we recognize that world markets being the way they are that this is a decision that proponents needed to consider,” she says.
“But on the other hand as a government we’ve worked very hard to deliver on all of the expectations. Proponents would tell you our government has done everything it can to make sure that the stage is set properly for a liquefied natural gas industry and we continue to be hopeful that it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.”
What kind of implications will the decision have on B.C.’s highly touted jobs plan?
“Interestingly enough, when we look at our statistics and the plan we built, we actually have significant gaps whether LNG is short term or longer term,” says Bond.
“We see that we have, if you exclude numbers for liquefied natural gas, we have almost a million job openings over the next decade and in many of those jobs, two thirds of them, are actually coming as a result of people retiring and leaving the workforce.”
Added to that she says B.C.’s economy, relative to the rest of Canada, continues to hum along.
“We still have significant job demands in the province and we have the lowest unemployment rates across the country as well.”
And though LNG development seems to be at a standstill, Bond says money invested in B.C.’s ‘Jobs Blueprint’ continues to be money well spent.
“The money that is invested every year in skills training continues to be essential to making sure we have the workforce we need today and in the future,” she says.
“You look at the many job openings in the province today and a large number of those are in skilled trades. The plan is built so that the skills are transferable across sections. We’re going to need a skilled workforce, the plan is working and British Columbia is leading the country.”