VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — B.C.’s job numbers continue to trend in the right direction, setting it apart from all other Canadian provinces, according to the Minister of Jobs, Economy Recovery and Innovation.
Ravi Kahlon says employment numbers have bounced back to 98.7 per cent of what they were pre-pandemic.
In December, 24,000 full-time positions were added –mainly in manufacturing, construction, and health care. However, 20,000 part-time jobs were lost and the tourism and hospitality sectors remain the hardest-hit.
“It won’t be a surprise to anyone that tourism continues to be a sector that’s going to struggle, and certainly our hope is that when we’ve got more people vaccinated that people will be able to travel again, that folks in the hospitality industry would be able to have people outside of their households enjoying meals together,” he says.
“Retail of course has always been a challenge during the pandemic. Those sectors are struggling a little bit, we saw some job losses.”
And with public health officials warning the province is in a precarious position when it comes to containing COVID-19, Kahlon notes it’s impossible to guarantee that the province will continue to add jobs.
“We know that it’s a challenging time. With a pandemic, with case numbers potentially going up, anything is possible. So, you know, we’re cautiously optimistic of where things are heading,” he says.
“But, we’re hopeful that we collectively can follow the rules follow the advice of Dr. Henry and Minister Dix, and we’ll continue to see positive signs in the economy.”
BC is the only province in Canada to see jobs increase in December. 2020 was a tough year for many, but we ended it with 98.7% jobs recovered to pre-pandemic levels. We continue to support businesses with recovery grants at https://t.co/cclQDlbsoO https://t.co/tnFsFvYnto
— Ravi Kahlon (@KahlonRav) January 8, 2021
The film industry has also managed to recover, according to Kahlon, who credits Henry’s approach to restrictions.
“We certainly are seeing a big take off in the film and television sector. And you know, sometimes people do raise concerns about restrictions here in B.C., and I remind people that Dr. Henry has been the most sympathetic public health officer in Canada when it comes to understanding the importance of our various sectors, and wanting to find safe ways for them to continue to operate. Film is an example where perhaps it’s not safe in jurisdictions across the U.S. or even across Canada, but they found a home in B.C. to operate in a very safe manner,” he says.
Kahlon points out that the economic harms from the pandemic have not been equally felt, with people of colour being disproportionately affected.
He wants to remind British Columbians who are eligible to apply for the Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant.