John Horgan speaks at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre in Nanaimo on Wednesday, Oct. 25. (Nicholas Pescod/NEWS BULLETIN)

B.C. premier identifies labour shortage on Vancouver Island

John Horgan spoke today at the Vancouver Island Economic Summit in Nanaimo

Vancouver Island needs more workers.

That was one of the messages B.C. Premier John Horgan delivered to a crowd of politicians and business people at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre in Nanaimo this afternoon.

The premier was at the conference centre as part of the opening luncheon for the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance’s Economic Summit, which continues tomorrow, Oct. 25.

Horgan told the crowd that Vancouver Island’s economic prospects are good, explaining that the unemployment rate is low. However, he also said there is a high demand for skilled labour and that there are simply not enough people on the Island to meet that demand, which is hurting the economy.

“We have more people at the top of the funnel than we do at the bottom of the funnel providing the services, to provide the goods, to provide the workforce to meet the needs of an aging population,” he said, later adding more skilled workers are needed in the health care sector along with more skills training.

Horgan also touched on the need to invest in education within the province, particularly in the fields of math and science. He said even though resource-based jobs are important for the province, the tech sector and other industries are vital to the economy.

“We need to be able to adapt to a high-tech innovative economy,” he said. “It’s not just resources and technology, put the two of them together and in my opinion British Columbia and, in particularly, Vancouver Island are unstoppable.”

RELATED: Vancouver Island Economic Summit will create connections, spark discussion

While he doesn’t agree with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s stance on Trans Mountain, Horgan said he does get along with him on many other issues. He also praised Trudeau and his government’s stance on trading partners who bully.

“I give full marks to the prime minister and his team for not backing down to bullies, but standing up to the values that are represented by Canada, that is represented around the world because of our generosity and because of our approach to lifting up, not just ourselves, but everyone we come across,” Horgan said. “I am proud of that, everyone in this room is proud of that, but if our trade partners are going to disrespect that, then I suggest we need to look for new trade partners.”

Horgan said British Columbia has an “outstanding” relationship with the United States, but that it is important for the province and the Island to continue diversifying the economy and finding other trading partners.

“It’s pretty good to have friends in other places who are prepared to trade with us,” he said, adding that there is “tremendous” opportunities for the province’s agriculture sector in markets throughout Asia.







nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com 
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram

 

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

Just Posted

Weather forecast for the Cowichan Valley sunny and mid-teens

Lots of sun expected over next two weeks

Some Cowichan schools to reopen for children of essential-services workers

Cowichan Valley will open 8 elementary schools this week

Island Health “humbled” by work of Cowichan’s Project Draw Breath

Health authority eager to explore partnerships during COVID-19 crisis

CPAC launches Cowichan Performing Arts Centre Online

CPAC is posting submissions from the region’s musicians, dancers, actors, writers, and visual artists

Vandekamp moving on from Cowichan Capitals

Head coach returns to AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

List of cancelled Cowichan Valley community events

An ongoing list of events that have been cancelled in the Cowichan Valley due to COVID-19

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

Comox spring training cancelled for Snowbirds next month

The team announced that due to ongoing travel restrictions they will not be training in the Valley

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

Physiotherapists turn to technology to reach patients during COVID-19

Just because services, jobs, and socializing have been put on hold, it… Continue reading

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Mid-Island Panago locations offer free pizza to first responders

First responder can get free pizza at Panago in Parksville, Nanaimo, Ladysmith, Duncan, and Mill Bay

Most Read