VANCOUVER – Premier Christy Clark says her government’s retooled jobs plan aims to make British Columbia the most diversified economy in Canada.
The premier said Monday during a five-year update on her jobs plan that the government achieved 15 of 19 goals set back in 2011, but missed targets for international students, on growth in mines and for the liquefied natural gas industry.
The original jobs plan said three LNG plants would be operating by 2020 and that there would be 17 new and upgraded mines in operation by 2015, she said.
An official in Clark’s office said five new mines have been approved since 2011 and eight were upgraded, which came close to the targeted goal. The official also said the most recent international student numbers indicated an increase of 44 per cent since 2001.
The government’s goal was an increase in international students of 50 per cent, the official said.
No LNG plants are operating in the province.
In November, Woodfibre LNG announced it was proceeding with a proposed LNG development in Squamish. The project was expected to create 650 jobs during construction and 100 operation jobs over its 25-year lifespan.
Clark said turmoil in global economies hit some of B.C.’s plans hard and the impact was especially felt in rural communities.
“We have had some great successes since 2011 when we introduced the jobs plan,” she said. “You don’t get to lead the country without setting some ambitious goals, which we did,” said Clark. “But because of the way the global market has been going it’s meant we have missed four out of our 19 goals.”
She said since 2011, B.C. moved from ninth-place in Canada in job creation to leading the country with 191,500 jobs created, and B.C. currently has the lowest jobless rate in Canada at 5.8 per cent.
Clark said diversification, innovation, trade and jobs for British Columbians are her new goals over the next five years.
“By focusing on resiliency, and a diversity of markets and sectors expecting solid growth, we’re putting our province in the strong position to make the most of our opportunities in a globally competitive marketplace.”
Clark named Santa Ono, University of B.C. president, as a chief adviser of an Innovation Network looking to drive collaboration between post-secondary institutions and innovation-driven industries.