The Province is launching a bold, new long-term economic plan that moves British Columbia forward by tackling the challenges of today while growing an economy that works for more people and families.
StrongerBC: A Plan for Today, a Vision for Tomorrow builds on B.C.’s strength – its people. The plan sets out to fill one million jobs over the next 10 years by investing in skills training, building resilient communities and positioning B.C. as a world leader in a low-carbon economy.
“Our government understands that people are the economy and that growing the economy cannot mean leaving people behind,” said Premier John Horgan. “Today, B.C. is a national economic leader, and our StrongerBC plan provides a framework to create a low-carbon economy that works for everyone. An economy built for all is an economy built to succeed.”
As a first step in the plan, the Province is investing $136.6 million to build a new state-of-the-art Trades and Technology Complex at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) Burnaby campus. The complex will be a hub for skills training and include four new buildings, benefiting more than 12,000 full- and part‐time students per year in more than 20 trades and technology programs.
“The pandemic has exposed deep vulnerabilities in our society, and we know we can’t go back to the way things were,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “This plan is your plan. It’s built by British Columbians, for British Columbians and puts people first. By investing in people, we will tackle today’s challenges while growing tomorrow’s economy. And through this plan we will close our skills gap, prove that we can grow the economy while tackling climate change and create a province that is more inclusive, sustainable and innovative.”
Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training, said: “Investing in new trades training infrastructure at BCIT is a crucial part of equipping students for the jobs of the future while supporting a clean, innovative economy. The new Trades and Technology Complex will help ensure future students have access to the best tools, instruction and equipment needed to meet the demand for an estimated 85,000 new trades jobs expected over the next 10 years.”
Along with building a new Trades and Technology Complex at BCIT, key actions under the StrongerBC Economic Plan include training British Columbians to succeed in the jobs of tomorrow, accelerating the timeline to connect all B.C. communities to high-speed internet, creating opportunities for under-represented entrepreneurs, expanding domestic manufacturing capabilities, establishing an ESG Centre of Excellence to promote Environmental, Social and Governance principles for products and services, and building more resilient B.C. businesses by expanding access to global markets.
The plan is built with the belief that an economy can grow and thrive, while addressing two core issues: inequality and climate change. The StrongerBC Economic Plan puts the province on this path by working toward inclusive and clean growth, as well as identifying six missions to achieve these goals:
- supporting people and families;
- building resilient communities;
- advancing true, lasting and meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples;
- meeting B.C.’s climate commitments;
- leading on environmental and social responsibility; and
- fostering innovation throughout B.C.'s economy.
The StrongerBC Economic Plan is the result of extensive engagement sessions, including sessions led by the Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation with more than 300 people from every region of the province and from all walks of life, such as leaders from businesses, labour groups, First Nations and Indigenous communities, municipalities and universities and colleges.
Mariana Mazzucato and her team at the U.K.-based University College London - Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose have been advising the Province on the development of the plan. Mazzucato is one of the world’s foremost economic thought leaders who has advised governments and policy makers to deliver solutions to societal challenges.
The plan’s goals will be tracked through a broad set of progressive indicators. In addition to traditional economic indicators like gross domestic product (GDP) and job numbers, the plan will also measure well-being indicators like affordable housing, post-secondary training and poverty reduction.
StrongerBC: A Plan for Today, a Vision for Tomorrow is an evolving plan based on the experiences of British Columbians and designed to be adapted and adjusted. People are encouraged to share their economic priorities and ideas online. Input from the survey will help inform future policy and guide the work of the plan.
To take part in the survey, visit: StrongerBC.gov.bc.ca/engage
Andrew Mercier, Parliamentary Secretary for Skills Training –
“With more than 85,000 new trades jobs expected in the next decade, it is imperative that we invest in the educational opportunities and facilities that apprentices and students need to get the job done. I’m excited for the future laid out in the StrongerBC Economic Plan and supported by skilled trades certification. I know our skilled tradespeople are up to the challenge of helping build a stronger B.C. for us all.”
Shaquille Davis, BCIT Level 4 carpentry apprentice –
“BCIT is a place where students learn to maximize their potential while gaining hands-on work experience that is applicable to everyday life. After completing four years of my carpentry apprenticeship at BCIT, I am confident that I can tackle any complexity within my field. Thanks to support from BCIT, the provincial government and industry partners, there will be more educational opportunities to support students, like myself, in becoming innovators for the trades industry.”
Kathy Kinloch, president, BCIT –
“This important investment will facilitate the ongoing transformation of BCIT’s Burnaby campus and our ability to help power B.C.’s ongoing pandemic recovery by giving trades and technology learners the skills and credentials they need for today and tomorrow. This transformation will also provide our incredible faculty and staff with the tools needed to stay in lockstep with industry’s current and emerging trends. Our thanks to the Province, our generous donors and to BCIT faculty and staff for your crucial support on this key initiative.”
- In fall 2021, a series of focused virtual engagement sessions were held with First Nations governments and Indigenous organizations with engagement continuing into 2022.
- In addition, more than 300 stakeholders and partners provided input to help develop this plan, taking part in 33 virtual engagement sessions.
- B.C. leads Canada in economic recovery with more than 100,000 new jobs added in 2021.
- According to the Labour Market Outlook, more than one million job openings are expected in B.C. over the next 10 years, approximately 80% of which will require post-secondary education and training.
- The Trades and Technology Complex at BCIT is the first provincially funded post-secondary capital project that requires developers to prioritize hiring Indigenous, women and other under-represented people in the trades through the Community Benefits Agreement.
For more information about StrongerBC: A Plan for Today, a Vision for Tomorrow, visit: https://strongerbc.ca/plan
To download the StrongerBC Economic Plan, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/StrongerBC_Economic_Plan_2022.pdf
To view a list of economic indicators for StrongerBC: A Plan for Today, a Vision for Tomorrow, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Economic_Plan_Tracking_our_Progress_2022.pdf
To learn more about the new Trades and Technology Complex at BCIT, visit: https://commons.bcit.ca/news/2022/02/bcit-trades-technology-students-get-new-training-facilities/
Two backgrounders follow.