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 January 2022:
“The first jobs report of 2022 continues to show the resilience of British Columbians in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic as 4,200 jobs were created in January. For the first time since the pandemic began, B.C.’s unemployment has returned to 5.1%, officially reaching the pre-pandemic level of February 2020. This is the lowest unemployment rate in Canada.
“B.C. continues to lead the country in economic recovery, having recovered all jobs lost at the outset of the pandemic. In fact, B.C.’s employment is now 102.4%, which is the highest in the country compared to pre-pandemic levels.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, our province has provided more than $525 million in supports to help nearly 30,000 businesses. B.C. continues to provide some of the highest supports for people and businesses per-capita in Canada.
“To help businesses forced to close due to public-health restrictions, we launched the COVID-19 Closure Relief Grant, a $14-million grant program to help keep people employed and businesses pay the bills. This grant is in addition to federal support measures, which provide up to 75% wage and rent subsidies to hard-hit businesses.
“Owners of small and medium-sized businesses throughout the province have adapted their practices, innovated and pivoted to keep their workers and customers safe. As a result, 44,600 more people are now working in the private sector than prior to the pandemic.
“Young people have been some of the hardest hit throughout this pandemic, and our province has made youth programs a focus of our recovery. We’ve invested nearly $45 million in our StrongerBC Future Leaders Program, which provided targeted employment opportunities throughout the province. Because of our collective efforts, 12,000 more young people are working in B.C. now than prior to the pandemic.
“Today, Premier John Horgan is leading a national push for a significant, long-term increase in health funding from the federal government. We’ve certainly learned throughout this pandemic that our health-care system must be able to serve all Canadians, especially in their time of need.
“Through StrongerBC, BC’s Economic Recovery Plan, we are recruiting 7,000 health-care workers, including 3,000 in home and community care, for long-term care homes and assisted-living facilities, to strengthen the health system.
“Today, there are 54,700 more people working in the health-care and social-assistance sector than prior to the pandemic, reflecting our commitment to providing the best health care for our people.
“While our economy continues to show strength, the pandemic has proven that we cannot continue with the old way of doing things if we want to build a stronger B.C. for everyone. Now is the time to chart a bold new direction for economic growth.
“In the near future, we’ll be sharing our economic plan built for and by British Columbians that directs growth toward building an inclusive and sustainable economy by investing in our greatest asset: British Columbians.
“In the past two years, we’ve been through some of the most challenging situations of our lifetimes, but we have made it through by leading with kindness, determination and resiliency. I want to thank all British Columbians for everything they are doing to keep each other safe and healthy. It’s because of your collective actions that I know brighter days are ahead for us all.”
StrongerBC For Everyone: B.C.’s Economic Recovery Plan: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/