British Columbia has introduced a new jobs plan to attract investment and open new markets for its products and services, defending and creating jobs for British Columbians, according to Premier Christy Clark.
Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan includes investments in projects such as road and rail expansion, new mines and a natural gas plant along with boosting the number of international students, increasing training and expanding access to venture capital tax credits.
The tree pillars of the jobs plan are:
•Expanding markets for B.C. products and services, particularly in Asia.
•Strengthening infrastructure to get goods and services to market.
•Working with communities and employers to enable job creation.
“British Columbia has incredible advantages that make us unique in the world,” said Clark. “The world’s biggest markets are on our doorstep, we have a multicultural population, world-class infrastructure, sound fiscal fundamentals and a wealth of natural and intellectual resources. We are building on our position of strength and never has this been more important than now, given the global economic uncertainty we are facing. Building on our strengths is what Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan will do.”
The province will increase the number of international students in B.C. by 50 per cent over the next four years, as well as take steps to ensure British Columbians are able to get the skills training and education they need to fill job openings, said the government. The province is also expanding access to venture capital tax credits and extending tax credits available to apprentices and employers.
To accelerate growth, the jobs plan also leverages the strengths of B.C.’s most competitive sectors — forestry, mining, natural gas, agri-foods, technology, tourism, transportation and international education — to bring new dollars into the economy from the province’s most important trading partners, said the government.
The plan was applauded by the British Columbia Human Resources Management Association (BC HRMA) because of its recognition of the province’s looming skills shortage and the steps it is taking to create a trained workforce and keep British Columbia companies hiring and the province’s economy moving forward.
“We are glad to see this focus on skills training and job creation,” said Ian Cook, director of research and learning at BC HRMA. “The premier’s plan addresses several key areas we’ve identified as crucial to helping create a hiring climate in this province.”
Support for skills training is particularly welcome, said the association, as B.C. companies, on average, spend less than companies in the United States when it comes to employee development (1.5 per cent of payroll as opposed to 2.2 per cent). Offering support and incentives in this area will help enhance organizational productivity over the medium term.
There is a mismatch between the skills required to fill current job positions and the skills possessed by candidates but this plan will help fill those vacancies over the short term, said BC HRMA. And the targeted approach towards specific sectors is also appreciated as the needs of employers vary widely based on the labour market dynamics of their industry.