BC Jobs Plan strategy is working says Bell

November 16, 2012  -  From gas workers to ski instructors, British Columbia is creating tens of thousands of jobs as part of an aggressive plan to make the province number one in job growth in Canada. The strategy is working.

Shell Canada and other resource companies are now chartering flights, some of them 737 jets, four-to-five times a week into the North Peace Regional Airport to transport workers to the giant natural gas fields that have transformed the communities of Fort Nelson, Fort St. John, Fort St. James and Dawson Creek.

Today more than 12,000 people work in B.C.'s gas industry. By 2035, that number is expected to increase to 40,000, according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

In October, Spectra Energy and the UK's BG Group announced the start of a multibillion-dollar natural gas pipeline that will run from south of Dawson Creek west to a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in Prince Rupert. According to Spectra, the pipeline will generate 4,000 jobs during construction.

The BC Jobs Plan is an aggressive and multi-tiered provincial focus on job creation that has recorded startling success during its first year. More than 51,000 jobs have been created since the Jobs Plan began, putting B.C. in first place for job growth in Canada.

Skills training is one of three pillars that anchor the $500 million BC Jobs Plan. It also includes expanding global markets for B.C. products and services and working closely on job creation with employers and communities.

Projects ranging from shipbuilding to natural gas, mining to manufacturing, and transportation to commercial/residential development, all need workers. Since 2006, employment in the mining, oil and gas extraction sectors has surged 24.7 per cent and shows no sign of slowing: $48 billion will be invested in LNG alone between 2013 and 2022.

Yet it's not only resource towns that have benefited from the job creation. Ski centres from Whistler to the Kootenays are also sharing in the Jobs Plan.

This October in Toronto, the province kicked off its $1.55 million Tourism BC "Ski It to Believe It" marketing campaign with Olympic gold medallist Ashleigh McIvor. The campaign is aimed at attracting more visitors to B.C.'s 13 ski resorts. Tourism provides jobs for one out of every 15 employees in B.C., noted Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation, and pumps $13.4 billion into the economy annually.

So far, the comprehensive BC Jobs Plan has reached eight of 19 targets set last year, with 11 more on track to be accomplished, according to Bell. "Since our Jobs Plan was launched one year ago, B.C. has been on a roll. The unprecedented amount of investment we've seen will help to keep our economy stable during globally turbulent economic times as well as protect and create jobs for decades to come."

For information on how you or your community can share in the BC Jobs Plan, visit www.bcjobsplan.ca.

Sub-hed: By the numbers $1 trillion: Estimated contribution of the natural gas industry to B.C. economic activity over the next 30 years

12,000: Workers in the natural gas industry today

51,000: Jobs created since the BC Jobs Plan started

71: Percentage increase in venture capital investment this year compared with 2011

15: Percentage of B.C. employees who work in the tourism industry

By Frank O'Brien, Courier-Islander  © Copyright (c) Postmedia News