Invasive species aren’t just pesky weeds that invade lawns and gardens.
They also affect livestock and gravel pits. This is why the provincial government is providing nearly $300,000 in Job Creation Partnership funding to help nine people get work experience in the Interior to combat these invading plants that choke out native species.
The B.C. government has partnered with the Invasive Species Council of British Columbia to provide participants with work experience to identify, map and treat invasive species in 100 Mile House, Williams Lake and Kamloops. In addition, the Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resources is contributing more than $15,000 to the project and the Ministry of Transportation another $6,000 to combat invasive species, such as knapweed and common burdock.
Participants will receive pesticide applicators’ certification, put together an invasive plant species database and produce a report at the end of the project on how many sites were treated. Over the course of the project, they will treat approximately 200 sites for invasive species and also deliver invasive species awareness seminars to 60 community organizations and 60 schools. The six-month project is scheduled to wrap up in December.
The B.C. government has declared June as Invasive Species Action Month. Invasive plant species affect the economy by reducing grazing land for livestock and crop yields as well as limiting access to recreational areas. There are significant costs to government and private landowners to repair damage done by invasive species. Invasive species are also a nuisance at gravel pits as they can be easily spread when roads are being built.
Job Creation Partnerships are part of the Employment Program of BC’s Community and Employer Partnerships, which fund projects that increase employability and share labour market information.
The Community and Employer Partnerships program is featured in B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and provides more support to people who are struggling to gain a foothold in the job market. It helps build stronger partnerships with industry and labour to connect British Columbians with classroom and on-the-job training, while making it easier for employers to hire the skilled workers they need - when and where they need them.
To date, more than 700 job seekers have benefited from work experience and more than 150 projects have been funded throughout the province.
Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation ─
“This project is the perfect example of how important WorkBC initiatives are to our communities. Job Creation Partnership funding supports local projects that will benefit the community and help people gain meaningful work experience. I want to congratulate the participants and thank the Invasive Species Council of BC for their commitment to such a valuable community project.”
Donna Barnett, MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin ─
“Invasive species are a big problem in British Columbia. The Province is providing more than $300,000 to this project. Funding that will help a group of people gain valuable work experience and make a difference to our community. These trainees are gaining skills they need to help control invasive plants that affect our environment and our economy.”
Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson ─
“Not only will these trainees help control invasive species, they will be getting the word out to schools and communities about the damage that these invading plants do to not only the economy but wildlife as well.”
Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations ─
“Invasive species pose a considerable risk to B.C. This is a good project that will benefit the people getting the training and the natural environment.”
Gail Wallin, executive director, Invasive Species Council of British Columbia ─
“This work experience project not only will train local residents and build capacity in controlling invasive weeds, but is also important to stopping the spread of invasive plants in our local regions. This is a chance to create much more needed skills for future employment while increasing on-the-ground actions tackling top priorities on grasslands, gravel pits and parks. The important partnerships between the Invasive Species Council of BC and local governments, ranchers, local committees, First Nations and the provincial government have helped build a practical and unique work plan for each area.”
Mike Hall, 100 Mile House participant ─
“I am pleased to be on this project to gain knowledge that I need to pursue a career in invasive species.”
Clint Walker, Williams Lake participant ─
“My interest in giant hogweed has led me to the Invasive Species Council of BC and hopefully a future career in this field to support my family.”
- Invasive species are plants, animals or other organisms that are not native to B.C. They threaten the province’s biodiversity by overwhelming native species, damaging habitat, disrupting food sources and introducing parasites and disease.
- Some invasive species found in B.C. that are currently concerns are Japanese, giant and bohemian knotweeds; giant hogweed; European common reed and Spartina.
- Other targeted invasive plant species include marsh plume thistle, spotted knapweed, garlic mustard, blueweed, common tansy, tansy ragwort, hoary alyssum, field scabious, leafy spurge, yellow flag iris and Himalayan balsam, as well as orange and yellow (non-native) hawkweeds.
- Earlier this spring, the Province announced $1.3 million toward an early-detection and rapid-response program to combat aquatic invasive mussels.
- B.C. is reaching a tipping point where more people are leaving the workforce than are entering it. This is why government is taking action now to address this rapidly changing labour market.
- One year ago, government created the B.C. Skills for Jobs Blueprint to ensure more British Columbians have the skills they need to be first in line for in-demand jobs in B.C.'s diverse, strong and growing economy.
- In 2015-16, the ministry has committed to investing $331 million in employment and labour market programs under the Employment Program of BC.
- The Employment Program of BC is funded by the Province of British Columbia as well as the Government of Canada through the Labour Market Development Agreement.
- Funding supports 84 WorkBC Employment Services Centres throughout the province and the four components of the Community and Employer Partnerships fund:
- Job Creation Partnerships
- Labour Market Partnerships
- Project-Based Labour Market Training
- Research and Innovation
Who is eligible?
- Non-profit organizations
- Municipalities, agencies or territorial governments
- Bands/tribal councils
- Public health and educational institutions
- Crown corporations
For more information on Community and Employer Partnerships: www.workbc.ca/CEP
Invasive Species Council of British Columbia: bcinvasives.ca
Find a local WorkBC Employment Services Centre: www.workbccentres.ca
Learn more about the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation: www.gov.bc.ca/sdsi
For more information on B.C.'s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: www.workbc.ca/skills
To find out more about the BC Jobs Plan: www.engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan/
Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation