Job Growth Not Benefitting the North: Think Tank
Prince George, B.C. – Not all communities in B.C. are benefitting from the so-called ‘jobs boom.’
That from left-leaning think tank the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives who have just published a new article on the issue.
It notes though B.C. led the country with over 73,000 new jobs last year, most of that job growth – 83 per cent – happened in Metro Vancouver.
“And when you add the larger area of the Fraser Valley, Squamish/Whistler, and the Sunshine Coast you see that 94 per cent of B.C.’s job growth has been concentrated there,” says senior economist Iglika Ivanova. “So, while the Lower Mainland has been booming, the communities in the Interior and the North are losing jobs.”
She says just under 1 per cent of all jobs in Prince George and the Cariboo were lost last year (she says the remaining job growth took place on Vancouver Island).
Ivanova says the regional disparities are proof the province’s jobs plan, first proposed in 2011, isn’t working.
“It was supposed to revitalize the northern Interior of the province with resource development. The government came up with LNG and mining and as we see in these numbers, it really hasn’t worked,” she says. “I think one of the big mistakes the B.C. government made was they completely neglected forestry.”
Ivanova says the government has tried to mask northern job losses by going ahead with the Site C project.
“It’s a way to create jobs – a very expensive way to create jobs – and the job creation that would come from Site C is very short-term. There will be jobs during the construction phase and then after that very minimal jobs to operate the facilities.”
So, what would she propose to boost jobs in the region?
“We would recommend re-investing in forestry in a big way…Other investments I think would help include investments in renewable electricity generation – so solar, wind and geothermal energy. Those are investments that can be made in different parts of the province.”