B.C. workers being left behind as B.C. Liberals scramble to catch up on skills training

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VICTORIA— The B.C. Liberal government is more interested in flashy photo-ops than concrete and effective action to address the skills gap for B.C. workers, says New Democrat skills training spokesperson Shane Simpson.

“The time for inflated jobs claims is past. It’s time for the B.C. Liberals to get signed specific B.C.-first job and apprenticeship commitments from LNG proponents, along with proponent contributions to training to make good on them,” said Simpson.

“The B.C. Liberals cut funding for advanced education and skills training in the last budget, and they just signed an agreement to increase the already massive number of temporary foreign workers in British Columbia. We need a real plan if British Columbians are going to see the benefits of an LNG industry, not one-off announcements chosen for their photo-op value.”

For years New Democrats have been calling for increased investments in skills training aimed at training workers for LNG and other industries in need of skilled workers. Instead, the B.C. Liberals have slashed support for advanced education and skills training.

“We have a great number of industries in B.C. that are hunting for skilled workers, and they are receiving zero attention and support from Premier Clark,” said Simpson.

“We know the B.C. Liberals are hard-pressed to pay attention to any sector that isn’t LNG, yet the B.C. Institute of Technology has been struggling for years with waitlists for key programs that would support that industry. Not only are the Liberals ignoring every sector of the economy that isn’t LNG, they aren’t even being up front with how many LNG jobs there will be for B.C. workers and what needs to be done to train them.

“The foreign worker agreement that the B.C. Liberals signed with China last week is proof that they’re scrambling to catch up on skills training. We need more than flashy photo-ops to catch up.”