Candidate Ravi Kahlon listens as party leader John Horgan speaks to NDP supporters during a campaign stop in Surrey, B.C., on Monday May 8, 2017. Kahlon, who is now British Columbia’s jobs minister, says the latest employment numbers from Statistics Canada show the provincial economy remains resilient. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Candidate Ravi Kahlon listens as party leader John Horgan speaks to NDP supporters during a campaign stop in Surrey, B.C., on Monday May 8, 2017. Kahlon, who is now British Columbia’s jobs minister, says the latest employment numbers from Statistics Canada show the provincial economy remains resilient. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Employment data shows B.C. resilient, says minister, but Liberals unimpressed

Ravi Kahlon, minister of jobs, economic recovery and innovation, says B.C. created 2,800 jobs in January

British Columbia’s jobs minister says the latest employment numbers from Statistics Canada show the provincial economy remains resilient.

The unemployment rate in B.C. last month was eight per cent, up from 7.2 per cent in December.

The national jobless rate was 9.4 per cent in January, up from 8.8 per cent in December, and economists say that’s mainly due to the loss of hundreds of thousands of service sector jobs, most in Ontario and Quebec.

Ravi Kahlon, the minister of jobs, economic recovery and innovation, says B.C. created 2,800 jobs in January and analysts peg the higher unemployment rate to more people looking for work.

B.C. Liberal jobs critic Todd Stone says the latest data shows B.C.’s job growth stalled in January and the New Democrats are hindering economic recovery and failing small business.

But Kahlon says B.C. has seen nine consecutive months of job growth, bringing employment numbers to more than 98 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to hamper the province’s hospitality and tourism sectors, Kahlon said in a statement on Friday.

“Additionally, people of colour and Indigenous Peoples in British Columbia continue to face disproportionate impacts during this pandemic,” he said.

“Our province’s economic recovery will not fully take hold until vaccinations have been fully administered, which is why it is critically important we do everything we can to prevent the spread of this virus.”

A news release from the B.C. Liberal caucus says 41,700 fewer people are working compared to pre-pandemic levels last February, and Stone said the province’s economic recovery program has not responded.

He also highlighted the fact that only $12 million of $300 million in grant money for small and medium-sized businesses has been spent, which Stone said “speaks to the NDP’s incompetence in getting funds out the door.”

Kahlon said his ministry will continue to support the hardest-hit sectors and build a recovery that closes inequality gaps.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The City of Victoria filed a petition with the Supreme Court of B.C. March 2 to have it clarify whether, under the Trustee Act, Beacon Hill Park can be used for temporary sheltering. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria asks court to clarify if Beacon Hill Park can be used for sheltering

City of Victoria filed petition to Supreme Court of B.C. March 2

The application proposing to rezone Western Speedway was passed by Langford’s planning, zoning and affordable housing committee Feb 8. A petition has since been started by residents of Trudie Terrace, hoping to stop the proposed residential portion of the development plan. (CBRE Victoria)
Petition opposing Western Speedway development proposal gains steam

Save Thetis Heights Neighborhood petition aims to stop extension of Trudie Terrace

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

Boma Brown won the Emerging Leader Award for her work founding the Support Network for Indigenous Women and Women of Colour. (Courtesy of Boma Brown)
Victoria SNIWWOC founder up for national women’s award for volunteer efforts

Victoria’s Boma Brown is a semi-finalist in the running for the L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth award

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(Black Press file photo)
Agassiz boy, 11, dies from ‘extensive injuries’: Homicide team

Agassiz RCMP were called out Friday to assist with a child in medical distress

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

Most Read