Alberta’s energy minister says laid off workers could go to B.C.

Energy Minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd discusses the province's plan to transition to renewable energy at a news conference in Calgary on Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. Global News

Could laid off oilpatch workers in Alberta get jobs in British Columbia while they wait for the market to rebound?

That was the suggestion by Alberta’s Energy Minister in a speech to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Land Administration on Thursday.

“Certainly there are always talks of about mobility of jobs between provinces so maybe they can go work in B.C. until it gets better and come back home,” said Marg McCuaig-Boyd, as part of a response to a question of what retraining opportunities were available for unemployed workers.

“It’s a tough time for everybody, not just oil and gas, there’s lot of jobs being lost in the services sector…this oil price is hurting a lot of Albertans, so you just have to hunker down and get through it.”

McCuaig-Boyd later apologized for her comments, telling the radio station radio station CFFR that it was not the position of either herself or the government on jobs.

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McCuaig-Boyd is the NDP MLA for Dunvegan-Central Peace-Notley, which borders British Columbia and is next to the province’s Peace River region, where natural gas is a key economic driver.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers estimates Alberta’s oilpatch has lost 35,000 workers this year due to oil prices remaining below $50 a barrel.

Timeline: Tracking the layoffs in Alberta’s oilpatch

In October, Alberta’s unmployment rate rose to 6.6 per cent, while British Columbia’s was 6.3 per cent.

– With files from The Canadian Press and CHQR

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