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

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum speaks at a press conference in August about provincial government approval of the city’s change to a municipal force, joined by councillors (from left) Mandeep Nagra, Allison Patton and Doug Elford. Members of the National Police Federation claim there is still no transition plan in place although Surrey RCMP’s contract with the city is due to end March 31.(File photo)
National Police Federation members slam Surrey police transition to Surrey Board of Trade

During virtual meeting, bargaining unit representatives say municipal force ‘not a done deal’

The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia’s (CFSEU-BC) Uniform Gang Enforcement Team (UGET) has arrested a man who was on the run for nearly a decade. (File photo)
9-year search for international drug trafficking suspect ends with arrest at YVR

Khamla Wong, charged in 2012, taken into custody Feb. 24 by BC-CFSEU

Pixabay image
Surrey council moves to update city’s telecommunication antennas policy

But councillor says health and safety protocols are nearly 40 years old

Eagle watchers are celebrating the first egg of the season, captured on video in South Surrey. (Hancock Wildlife Foundation photo)
LIVE VIDEO: South Surrey nesting eagles welcome first egg of the season

Parents ‘Sur’ and ‘Res’ to share incubating duties

Boosh Food founder Connie Marples (right) delivers some Boosh Food items to Christine Mohr, CEO of Options Community Services, in December, 2020. Boosh Food has just moved their operations to Cloverdale. (Photo: Moonraker PR)
Boosh Food moves to Cloverdale

‘Plant-based comfort food’ company moving to 65A Avenue

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Carolyn Howe, a kindergarten teacher and vice president of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association, says educators are feeling the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic and the influx of pressure that comes with it. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Stress leave, tears and insomnia: Island teachers feel the strain of COVID-19

Teachers still adjusting to mask and cleaning rules, pressures from outside and within

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Shaelene Keeler Bell. (Facebook)
Candlelight vigil planned for Chilliwack mother missing for four weeks

Virtual event to ‘spread some light’ for 23-year-old Shaelene Bell of Chilliwack

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Most Read