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

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

 

Just Posted

The North Island College campus in Port Alberni is located on Roger Street. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
North Island College to offer digital and in-person classes this fall

In-person classes will be able to resume in September

B.C. Centre for Disease Control data showing new cases by local health area for the week of May 2-8. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island COVID-19 local case counts the lowest they’ve been all year

On some areas of Island, more than 60 per cent of adults have received a vaccine dose

A nurse gets a swab ready to perform a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Island’s daily COVID-19 case count drops below 10 for just the second time in 2021

Province reports 8 new COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island Wednesday

Ancient Forest Alliance campaigner Andrea Inness walks beside an enormous western red cedar stump in a BCTS-issued cutblock in the Nahmint Valley. (PHOTO COURTESY TJ WATT)
B.C. forestry watchdog finds lack of compliance in Nahmint logging

Forest Practices Board says old growth and biodiversity near Port Alberni are at risk

Port Alberni Fire Dept. deputy chief Wes Patterson, right, and another firefighter monitor the front of a garage at Second Avenue and Argyle Street that burned on Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Fire starts in empty garage on Argyle Street in Port Alberni

Garage was attached to empty multi-storey commercial building

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
MISSING: Salt Spring RCMP find woman’s car, still seek Island resident

Sinikka Gay Elliott is 5’3” with a slim build and dark brown short hair

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

A Saanich man received almost 10 years in Supreme Court in Courtenay for a shooting incident from 2018. Record file photo
Shooting incident on Island nets almost 10-year sentence

Saanich man was arrested without incident north of Courtenay in 2018

Bradley Priestap in an undated photo provided to the media some time in 2012 by the London Police Service.
Serial sex-offender acquitted of duct tape possession in B.C. provincial court

Ontario sex offender on long-term supervision order was found with one of many ‘rape kit’ items

Rich Coleman, who was responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, was recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month. (Screenshot)
Coleman questioned over $460K transaction at River Rock during B.C. casinos inquiry

The longtime former Langley MLA was asked about 2011 interview on BC Almanac program

Steven Shearer, <em>Untitled. </em>(Dennis Ha/Courtesy of Steven Shearer)
Vancouver photographer’s billboards taken down after complaints about being ‘disturbing’

‘Context is everything’ when it comes to understanding these images, says visual art professor Catherine Heard

Trina Hunt's remains were found in the Hope area on March 29. Her family is asking the public to think back to the weekend prior to when she went missing. (Photo courtesy of IHIT.)
Cousin of missing woman found in Hope says she won’t have closure until death is solved

Trina Hunt’s family urges Hope residents to check dashcam, photos to help find her killer

Most Read