BC government recovery plan recognizes “people are the economy”: BCFED

September 18, 2020 | News Release

(Unceded Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam territories — Vancouver, BC) ­— ­The recovery plan announced yesterday by Premier John Horgan and Finance Minister Carole James looks promising, with significant investments in the province’s workers, BC Federation of Labour (BCFED) president Laird Cronk said today.

“We’re looking forward to seeing more details. But from what we’ve seen so far, this government recognizes that people are the economy.”

He said the plan has several measures that align with the recommendations set out in the BCFED’s submission to the Premier’s Economic Recovery Task Force, including investments in such areas as apprenticeship and training with targeted funding for Indigenous communities; aggressively expanding affordable childcare; and creating 1,000 new jobs to protect natural spaces and make BC more resilient in addressing the impact of climate change.

“We’ve said from the outset of this pandemic that the government’s response has to put people first. And we welcome the investment in workers, families, services and communities, especially in sectors that have been particularly hard hit,” Cronk said.

He said the BCFED would be looking carefully at the plan’s array of business incentives. Ensuring that workers laid off due to Covid-19 are recalled to their former work positions, once available, is paramount to a successful economic recovery in British Columbia, and any incentives should ensure that happens,” he said. “And we’ll be looking for further details on many of these measures, including the $470-million PST rebate on machinery and equipment, and incentives for retaining and hiring staff.”

Cronk added that the BCFED will continue to press for measures that weren’t included in the plan, including filling the gaps in the federal government’s recently-announced paid sick leave plan, so it truly and effectively covers all BC workers.