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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Port Hardy earns Bear Smart certification

Community committed to living safely alongside bears

Funding police would be ‘most expensive single budget item we would have’ says Port Hardy councillor

‘we’re not panicking — I can’t see our population numbers jumping up that high that quick’

Small physically distant running event with big heart held in Port Hardy

Indigenous Run/Walk program went ahead this year, with some downsizing due to COVID-19

Longtime Vancouver Island fishing family hooks into local market over wholesale

Locally caught fish are scarce in fishing towns, an irony one Sointula family is working to change

QUIZ: Put your knowledge of Canada to the test

How much do you know about our country?

Lower Mainland teacher facing child pornography charges

Elazar Reshef, 52, has worked in the Delta School District

Man who rammed gate near Trudeau residence with truck faces multiple charges

The man, who police have not yet officially identified, will be charged with multiple offences

All community COVID-19 outbreaks declared over in B.C.

Abbotsford manufacturer cleared by Dr. Bonnie Henry

Kelowna RCMP commander calls for more nurses during wellness checks after complaint

Southeast District Commander wants to increase Police and Crisis Team program

‘Tarantula moth’ spotted in broad daylight on Vancouver Island

Polyphemus moths are one of the largest insects in B.C.

B.C. First Nations vow to keep fighting after Trans Mountain pipeline appeal denied

Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Coldwater Indian Band made the application

‘Queue jumpers’ not welcome in B.C. as COVID-19 U.S. cases rise: Horgan

Premier Horgan said he’s heard concerns that Americans have stopped at Vancouver hotels instead of heading to their destination

US officer resigns after photos, connected to death of black man in 2019, surface

Elijah McClain died, last summer, after police placed him in a chokehold

Most Read