A day after releasing her government's latest update on the BC Jobs Plan, Premier Christy Clark visited West Fraser Timber's Williams Lake Sawmill to tout the benefits of the plan to the Cariboo Region.
"Creating jobs requires having a plan, one that builds on strengths and capitalizes on opportunities," said Premier Clark. "In the Cariboo, that means investing in the skills of our people and getting our lumber and our minerals to market. I am proud to say that at the 18-month mark, our plan is working."
Williams Lake Welcome
Williams Lake Welcome
Launched in September 2011, the BC Jobs Plan is government's strategy to grow B.C.'s economy and create jobs. The 18-Month Progress report highlights government's continued focus on skills training and attracting foreign trade and investment to B.C. Significant progress has already been made, with 11 of 19 targets already met at the 18-month mark.
Targets met since the previous update include:
- Having 10 new non-treaty agreements in place with B.C. First Nations by 2015, including a Strategic Land Use Planning Agreement with the Ulkatcho First Nation and the NazkoIncremental Treaty Agreement with the Nazko First Nation.
- Reducing the Water and Land Act permit backlog by 50 per cent.
- Putting in place a strict new quality assurance system for international education.
"The BC Jobs Plan is making a difference for people in my region and all over the province," saidCariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett. "Job creation and economic growth support our families, and the Jobs Plan produces both. This is exactly the type of long-term planning that families in our province need."
The report also updates British Columbians on government's progress to strengthen B.C.'s economy through the 17 commitments and 61 actions set out in the plan. Highlights include:
- Doubling B.C.'s international presence and opening new trade and investment offices in Hong Kong, Mumbai and Chandigarh.
- Expanding the Mobile Business Licence program with two one-year pilot projects in 12 Lower Mainland communities, enabling employers to operate across municipal and provincial borders.
- Working with communities through the Enhanced Community Economic Support Initiative to identify and take advantage of economic opportunities. This includes training 250 leaders in local government and First Nations through ten Economic Essentials workshops by March 2013.
- Launching new electronic Notice of Work applications in February 2013 to help maintain an average 60-day turnaround time - part of government's efforts to enhance the regulatory framework for forests, lands and natural resources.
- Funding approximately 320 graduate student internships in the Mitacs-Accelerate program in 2012-13 to promote entrepreneurship education.
- Attracting more international students to B.C. through a new international marketing strategy, a refreshed LearnLiveBC website, and seven education marketing managers based in trade and investment offices around the globe.
- Continuing to implement $22 billion in Asia Pacific Gateway infrastructure improvements, including the recently opened Port Mann Bridge - officially the world's widest.
- Laying the groundwork for a new liquefied natural gas industry in B.C. with, for example, amendments to the Clean Energy Act, development of a Natural Gas Workforce Action Plan (by April 2013), and better skills training equipment for Northern Lights College - the province's headquarters for a new BC Centre of Training Excellence in Oil and Gas.
B.C. remains on track with a stable and growing economy as indicated by forecasted GDP growth of 1.6 per cent, overall job growth, with 47,100 jobs added since August 2011, and a declining unemployment rate (6.3 per cent in January 2013). The province recieved an 'A' from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business for regulatory reform - the only province to receive an 'A'.
The province reports $80 billion in major projects, with an estimated value for proposed projects at $156.3 billion, a triple-A credit rating, and record exports from B.C.'s ports. It also remains active with a diversified export market, with just 40 per cent of B.C.'s exports going to the U.S. (compared to Alberta's 87 per cent and Ontario's 78 per cent).
Learn more about the BC Jobs Plan at www.bcjobsplan.ca.