Drastic action needed from B.C. government regarding looming labour shortage: report

Click to play video: 'Greater Vancouver Board of Trade calls for immediate government action to address labour shortage'
Greater Vancouver Board of Trade calls for immediate government action to address labour shortage
WATCH: The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade is calling on the B.C. government to take drastic action to deal with what could be a crippling labour shortage over the next ten years. Paul Johnson reports – Feb 2, 2023

More than 850,000 job openings are expected over the next decade in Vancouver, according to a Greater Vancouver Board of Trade report.

Currently, the board said Vancouver has 150,000 existing job vacancies and has a projected 700,000 workers set to retire over the next ten years.

Dubbed ‘Solving B.C.’s Workforce Challenges’, the report says that with the looming job vacancies, the province needs to take action to address a potential workforce crisis.

“The employment landscape is evolving more rapidly than ever before. We are proposing a comprehensive strategy to develop and attract the talent required for the jobs of an increasingly digital world, leveraging existing data and industry expertise,” said Bridgitte Anderson, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade president and CEO.

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“Government, educational institutions, and the business community need to form a new partnership and embrace innovative approaches to ensure our economy can manage an aging demographic while becoming a global hub for technology and innovation, with sustainability and resilience at the core.”

The report lays out a number of recommendations that the provincial government can take:

  • Remove registration requirements for out-of-province healthcare workers, and work with professional associations/bodies to drive faster recognition of foreign credentials
  • Streamline the employer registration process for the Temporary Foreign Worker program from eight to ten weeks to a maximum of three days
  • Invest to make B.C.’s economy inclusive for all by promoting new approaches for those underrepresented in the workforce, including Indigenous Peoples and those with disabilities
  • Consider an office for Indigenous employment that brings together post-secondary institutions, and Indigenous employment service agencies
  • Increase investments in experiential learning opportunities, including co-ops and work-integrated learning programs

The B.C. Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills, Selina Robinson, gave some comments regarding the report at a press conference Thursday.

“The report was very much in line with what the government has been hearing and already acting on,” she said.

“There are no surprises. We know about a million job openings will be coming to British Columbia over the next decade.”

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Robinson pointed to Thursday’s provincial announcement of $2 million in funding for the expansion of paramedic training programs as an example of work being done to prepare for the labour shortage.

“This is an example of the ways in which we are working to deliver a workforce that is ready for tomorrow,” she said.

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