VANCOUVER - Since the launch of Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan one year ago, billions in new investment and thousands of new jobs have been added to our economy, making British Columbia a national leader in job creation.
Launched in September 2011, our government's BC Jobs Plan outlined 17 commitments and 61 specific action items aimed at growing B.C.'s economy and creating jobs. The first year of implementation focused on creating an attractive business climate and promoting B.C. as a safe harbour for investment.
The BC Jobs Plan has helped to keep our economy strong and stable despite global economic uncertainty. In just a year, B.C. is already seeing results:
- Eight of 19 BC Jobs Plan targets met, 11 more targets on track to be accomplished by deadline.
- Statistics Canada's most recent jobs numbers show a growth of 51,700 jobs between August 2011 and August 2012, putting B.C. in first place for job growth in Canada.
- Since Christy Clark became premier in February 2011, B.C. has added 61,700 jobs.
- B.C.'s unemployment rate dropped to 6.7 per cent, positioning B.C. below the national average (7.3 percent) and the fourth-lowest in the country.
- The provincial economy measured by real GDP grew by 2.9 per cent in 2011, according to the 2011-12 Public Accounts, third in Canada.
- Earlier this year, B.C.'s triple-A credit rating was once again confirmed by major credit rating agencies. In fact, in a report issued earlier this year, Moody's notes that government's efforts to reduce debt in the past few years have put British Columbia in a stronger position to face the economic downturn.
- The estimated investment for all major projects currently under construction - projects ranging from shipbuilding to natural gas, mining to manufacturing and transportation to commercial/residential development - is approximately $80 billion, an increase of $11.7 billion since June 2011.
- $48 billion is projected to be invested in LNG alone between 2013 and 2022.
- Two mines have begun production, one is under construction, and three more have received permits with construction expected to start this year. Five mine expansions have been permitted.
- Venture capital investment grew by 71 per cent compared to the same period in 2011, the largest gain in the country.
- Nine new non-treaty agreements have been signed with First Nations to improve economic certainty.
Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour Pat Bell -
"Since our government launched the Jobs Plan one year ago, B.C. has been on a roll. The unprecedented amount of investment we've seen over the past year will help to keep our economy stable during globally turbulent economic times as well as protect and create jobs for decades to come."
Minister of Finance, Mike de Jong -
"The BC Jobs Plan is a roadmap for the economic development of our province. Just as we all know that governments can stand in the way of private sector growth and job creation, so too can governments assist - through the creation of a competitive tax environment, prudent fiscal management and reduction of red tape. Those measures are what the BC Jobs Plan is all about, and we're now seeing great success."
Steven Hofer, vice president, sales and marketing, Interfor -
"We were proud to accompany Premier Christy Clark on her Jobs and Trade Missions to Asia last year. The government's actions to create new markets for B.C. forest products have been a key factor in our ability to increase operating hours and to invest in new technology. These gains are possible when the right government policies are in place and an attractive economic climate is maintained in the province."
David Pryce, vice-president, operations, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers -
"Creating new jobs is important to the economy of British Columbia and to the province's natural gas sector. The natural gas industry expects to directly employ 40,000 people in British Columbia by 2035, up from the 12,000 people we currently employ. And a strong natural gas sector benefits the province as a whole in terms of significant revenues that return to the public purse."
Doug Bloom, president, Spectra Energy Transmission West -
"Spectra Energy shares the province's enthusiasm about the positive, growing role that natural gas can play in B.C.'s economic and environmental future. Our proposed new natural gas transportation system in B.C. will create more than 4,000 jobs during construction. It will also create demand for a range of goods and services from local and Aboriginal suppliers."
Arvind Gupta, CEO, Mitacs Inc. -
"The government's investments in the International Education Strategy, a key component of the B.C. Jobs Plan, are already yielding results. We are projecting a 133 per cent growth in applications to our nationally-recognized Globalink program, which works to attract the world's top talent to B.C. in partnership with the government. Of those students expressing an interest in participating in Globalink, over 80 per cent indicate B.C. is a target destination."
Greg Peet, chair, Premier's Technology Council -
"The knowledge-based economy is a critical component of modern society and technology is one of the fastest growing sectors in British Columbia. With the continuing support of BC Jobs Plan initiatives, I am confident that the tech sector will continue to represent an increasing share of B.C.'s GDP and create significant numbers of new, high-quality clean and green jobs."
To read The BC Jobs Plan: One-year Update: www.bcjobsplan.ca
A backgrounder follows.
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training
Targets on the Path to Success: One-year Update
Ahead of Target
Target: Top 2 in job growth in Canada by 2015
Ahead of Target: Statistic Canada's August jobs numbers show British Columbia in first place in Canada in overall job growth in the last year.
Target: Mining permit (Notices of Work) backlog reduced by 80 per cent by Aug. 31st 2012.
Ahead of Target. As of Aug. 31, 2012, targets had been exceeded with a 90 per cent reduction in the backlog.
Target: Border technology and information systems in place by March 31, 2012.
Completed. Seven projects (valued at $5.6 million) have been completed:
- Smart phone border App
- Highway 1 border hybrid sign
- Massey Tunnel / Alex Fraser Advanced Traveller Information System
- Highway 11 Nexus Fast Lane installation
- Highway 15 Nexus Fast Lane improvements
- Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement - Border Delay Information
- Historic Advanced Traveller Information System Open Data Initiative
Target: YVR to attract one new international carrier per year for the next two years to further develop trade and tourism between B.C. and Asia Pacific
Completed. China Southern Air and Sichuan Airlines have now started direct flights from Asia into YVR. Additionally, Virgin Airways introduced a direct flight between London and YVR in June.
Target: Small Business Venture Capital Program tax credit enhanced by 2012
Completed. Budget 2012 included a $3-million expansion targeted to direct investments in new businesses that are less than two years old. As a 30 per cent tax credit, the additional $3 million will support up to $10 million in additional equity capital for eligible new small businesses. This encourages angel investors to invest their own capital into a small business and offer strategic expertise.
Target: Extension of the Apprentice Training Tax Credit program for an additional three years.
Completed. The BC Training Tax Credit was extended through budget legislation (the standard process for implementing tax measures). The three-year extension to the end of 2014 encourages employers and their eligible apprentices to participate in and complete apprenticeship programs. In addition, in support of Seaspan's successful National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy bid and to support marine industry jobs, Budget 2012 introduced additional training tax credits for eligible employers that employ apprentices in the British Columbia Shipbuilding and Ship Repair industry. The effective date of the credit is Oct. 1, 2012.
Target: Business tax competitiveness review to inform Budget 2012.
Target: Commitment to net zero regulatory gain through 2015.
Completed. This commitment was announced by the Minister of Finance in October 2011. The Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training tracks the number of regulations and works with all ministries to ensure this count is accurate and current.
Target: Regulatory Reporting Act enacted in 2012.
Completed. The Regulatory Reporting Act received Royal Assent in November 2011, and the related regulation was enacted in January 2012. In June 2012, government published its first annual report (as required by the legislation).
Target: Report on the greenhouse industry completed and released by Dec. 31, 2011.
Target: Top 2 in GDP growth in Canada by 2015
On Target: The provincial economy measured by real GDP grew by 2.9 per cent in 2011, according to the 2011-12 Public Accounts, third in Canada. In 2010, British Columbia was fourth in Canada.
Target: Increase the number of international students in British Columbia by 50 per cent over the next four years.
On Target. B.C. participated in the Council of Ministers of Education Canada delegation to China in June 2011, as well as the premier's trade mission to China and India in November 2011 - resulting in 32 post-secondary Memorandums of Understanding signed. In June 2012, B.C. and Henan Province in China signed a Letter of Intent to strengthen ties and co-operate on matters related to international education.
Target: Strict new quality assurance system in place by 2012
On Target. A new quality assurance framework, which will enhance the quality of the post-secondary system, is currently underway. In April 2012, a public discussion paper and engagement strategy with public and post-secondary institutions, students and the public was undertaken.
Target: Eight new mines in operation by 2015
On Target. Two mines have begun production, one is under construction, and three more have received permits with construction expected to start this year.
Target: Nine upgrades and expansions to currently operating mines by 2015
On Target. Five mine expansions have been permitted.
Target: At least one LNG pipeline and terminal in operation in Kitimat by 2015 and three in operation by 2020
On Target. Already, two LNG operations (Kitimat LNG and Douglas Channel) have received 20-year export licenses from the National Energy Board while LNG Canada, a collaboration between Shell Canada and their Asian joint venture partners, is advancing a third project. Pipeline operator Spectra Energy has formed a joint venture with the BG Group to build an 850-kilometre natural gas pipeline from north-eastern B.C. to Prince Rupert.
Target: Deltaport and Ridley Island terminal upgrades completed and operational by 2014
On Target. Phase 1 of the $280-million Delta Terminal Rail Road Improvement Project is underway. Port Metro Vancouver and BC Rail are continuing to work with the user railways and terminal operators to finalize designs for railway improvements. CN and Port of Prince Rupert have committed $30 million each, B.C. has committed $15 million, and the Federal Government has committed $15 million under the Asia Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative (APGCI) funding. In July 2012, B.C.'s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure and the federal Minister of Asia Pacific jointly announced the signing of funding agreements with the Port of Prince Rupert. The environmental assessment is anticipated to be completed this fall.
Target: Ten new non-treaty agreements in place with B.C. First Nations by 2015 to improve economic certainty
On Target. Since September 2011, the following non-treaty agreements have been concluded:
- A Strategic Engagement Agreement Pilot with 12 Sto:lo First Nations to creates a more streamlined consultation processes for industry in the Fraser Valley.
- The Nanwakolas Reconciliation Protocol supports five First Nations in developing their economy through opportunities in forestry, tourism and clean energy. In addition, the Wei Wai Kum First Nation joined the Nanwakolas Strategic Engagement Agreement, bringing the total to seven First Nations in the agreement.
- Haisla Nation's addition to the Coastal Reconciliation Protocol means there are now seven First Nations signed onto the protocol, which clarifies consultation requirements and permitting timelines for development projects for industry.
- The Kaska Strategic Engagement Agreement provides greater certainty on how resource development can proceed in more than ten per cent of the province.
- A Strategic Land Use Planning Agreement with Kaska Dena First Nations creates certainty for natural-resource development and environmental stewardship in northern B.C.
- A Strategic Land Use Planning Agreement with Ulkatcho First Nation means the First Nation is eligible to apply for funding to promote sustainable economic development for their portion of territory that is within the Great Bear Rainforest.
- Nak'azdli Economic Community Development Agreement (ECDA) on mining revenue-sharing creates certainty for the Mt. Milligan mine project. (With the signing of this agreement, B.C. now has 3 ECDAs, and further negotiations are underway.)
- A memorandum of understanding with the Sts'ailes (Chehalis Indian Band) provides greater certainty over land and resources through open communication, shared decision making, and mutual respect and recognition.
- Economic Benefits and Oil and Gas Consultation Agreements with the Fort Nelson First Nation benefit B.C.'s northeast by establishing a clear process for consultation and management of lands and resources.
- The Nazko Incremental Treaty Agreement between the B.C. government and Nazko First Nation will expand economic development and job creation opportunities, and provide benefits to the First Nation in advance of a treaty final agreement.
- The Huu-ay-aht Forestry Agreement, the first-ever B.C. First Nations' woodland licence provides the First Nation with the ability to harvest approximately 70,000 cubic metres of timber per year within a 9,500 hectare area next to their treaty settlement land. The new, long-term, area-based tenure provides increased tenure security and improves First Nations ability to secure investment and loans.
- Forest Consultation and Revenue Sharing Agreements: 31 signed since fall 2011.
In addition to these non-treaty agreements, B.C. also initialled the Sliammon Final Agreement, which provides certainty over treaty lands and support for the First Nation to pursue economic development opportunities in the Powell River region. The Sliammon community has since voted to move forward with the final agreement. B.C. also signed the K'ómoks First Nation Agreement-in-Principle, a significant step towards a treaty that will bring increased certainty on the land and direct economic benefits to the K'ómoks people and surrounding communities.
Target: Water and Land Act permit backlog reduction of 50 per cent by Dec. 31, 2012.
In progress. Status as of July 31, 2012: Lands: 25.56 per cent reduction (from 2,785 to 2,073) Water: 24.42 per cent reduction (from 3,856 to 2,914).
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training