Nov 20, 2014

How to create good jobs in BC


Five years have passed after the end of the Great Recession but both BC and Canada as a whole are very far away from a meaningful recovery in the labour market.

Headline unemployment rates are not terrible (6.1% in BC and 6.8% in Canada) but fewer people are looking for work and part-time positions are increasingly replacing full-time jobs. In fact, the closer you look at the job market the worse the picture gets.

It’s clear that the BC Jobs Plan has failed to deliver. Many British Columbians recognize that the provincial government’s economic strategy—narrowly focused on boosting resource-extraction industries like mining and LNG—puts all our eggs in one basket. The strategy is both economically and environmentally risky.

But what else, some ask, can be done to create meaningful, sustainable, family-supporting jobs in BC?

I turned to leading thinkers in our broader network with this question and asked each of them to submit a single idea they have for fostering good jobs in our province.

They offer a wide range of solutions to create good jobs—including new government-led initiatives, policy changes that remove existing barriers or enable British Columbians to tap into new opportunities, and action items for businesses and individuals. The list is long, showcasing the great potential of our province and its people.

While there is no silver bullet, there is a widespread agreement that governments can and should play an important role in steering economic activity towards a more innovative and diverse economy that serves the public interest. Indeed, this is the only way to move forward.

Here’s a list of 31 ideas that would create good jobs in BC. You can click on each idea to read the details.

  1. Promote Co-ops as a Business Model
  2. Expand BC Hydro’s PowerSmart Program
  3. Buy Local
  4. Set Up New Crown Corporations
  5. Invest in Training
  6. Develop an Industrial Strategy for the Creative Sector
  7. Pay a Living Wage
  8. Implement the $10/Day Child Care Plan
  9. Use the Carbon Tax for Green Public Infrastructure Investments
  10. Create a Public Bank with a Local Development Mandate
  11. Transform the “Poor Jobs”
  12. Facilitate Knowledge Exchange between Universities, Business, Communities and Government
  13. Focus on Green Jobs for Youth
  14. Harness the Promise of Social Enterprise with Enabling Legislation
  15. Use Public School Infrastructure to Provide Quality Childcare
  16. Institute Precarity Pay
  17. Redesign the Economy to Respect the Ecosystem
  18. Develop a Youth Jobs Initiative
  19. Turn All Farm Jobs into Good Jobs
  20. Guarantee a Basic Income
  21. Create a New Urban-Rural Economic Development Initiative
  22. Green the Resource Industries
  23. Start Co-ops
  24. Adopt Green Procurement Policies in Hospitals and Long-term Care Homes
  25. Establish Province-Wide Elderly Care Standards
  26. Support Co-operatively Run Businesses
  27. Fund and Build Affordable Housing
  28. Invest in Public Education
  29. Move Towards Greener, Carbon-Focused Forest Management
  30. Implement a Youth Guarantee
  31. Avoid Groupthink by Looking at the Data

Do you have a good jobs idea for BC? Share it in the Comments section!