Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation, has issued the following statement on the release of Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey for February 2022:
“British Columbia’s strong economic recovery continued during the second month of 2022 with new job gains building on the 100,000 jobs created in 2021. In February, we created 21,000 new jobs, marking the first month that many businesses, especially in the event sector, returned to full capacity. This helped keep B.C.’s unemployment rate one of the lowest in Canada at 4.9% – a level not seen since before the pandemic began.
“Today, the Province is taking the next step toward putting this pandemic behind us, transitioning to optional masks in indoor public settings, with a clear timeline to lifting remaining restrictions.
“I thank the B.C. business owners and workers who continue to work tirelessly to help keep our communities safe and provide the goods and services people count on – even as the past few weeks have brought new global challenges. People in B.C. have stepped up in a big way to follow public-health direction and to get vaccinated. It’s made a huge difference. Our steady economic recovery is thanks to your resiliency and commitment to the people you serve.
“B.C. continues to lead the country in economic recovery, having recovered all jobs lost at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, 84,000 more people are working in B.C. than prior to the pandemic – the highest job recovery rate in Canada (103.2%).
“Last month, we learned that B.C. is going to have one million job openings in the next 10 years. This is an exciting opportunity for people throughout the province looking to enter the workforce or find a rewarding new career. And it’s a challenge – with lots of work ahead to prepare workers for the jobs of tomorrow and help employers find the workers they need.
“That’s why just three weeks ago we launched the StrongerBC Economic Plan, a plan that sets out to fill one million jobs in 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.
“As we move forward it is clear that health care remains one of the fastest growing fields of employment in B.C. As we have seen, if we don’t look after people, our economy won’t succeed. As part of our StrongerBC Economic Plan to grow an economy that works for everyone, we are adding 602 new nursing seats at B.C.’s public post-secondary institutions. This week, we also introduced changes to the Provincial Nominee Program so immigrants who received international training in health care and child care can more easily transfer their credentials in B.C. and begin working in these high-demand fields.
“Today, 56,100 more people are employed in the health care and social services sector than prior to the pandemic.
“While our economy continues to grow in all areas of the province, we know we must continue to make sure our province works for everyone. That’s why we are aggressively accelerating the timeline to close B.C.’s digital divide. Thanks to a new $830-million commitment in partnership with the federal government, we are now on track to give every business and every person living and working in B.C. access to high-speed internet by 2027. This will be life changing for people living in rural and remote communities throughout B.C.
“In recognition of International Women’s Day this week, I am proud to share that B.C. is leading the country in job recovery for women. There are 54,500 more women working in B.C. today than prior to the pandemic. Our work to ensure our economic recovery is inclusive is paying off, but we know we have a lot more work to do to ensure all women, Indigenous, Black, people of colour, people with disabilities and young people can share in this strong recovery.
“Over the past two years, B.C. has provided the highest per capita supports for people and businesses. Our work hasn’t stopped – the StrongerBC Economic Plan will keep delivering for people in every corner of British Columbia. Let’s keep working together as we keep building a stronger B.C. for everyone.”