Canadian Press: Minister sees 'glimmers' of confidence as B.C. jobless rate hits 13.4 per cent

June 5, 2020
Colin Wong


Part of the government's $5 billion pandemic action plan includes a $1.5 billion recovery fund to help various sectors of the economy rebuild, she said, while a 19-member economic recovery task force headed by Premier John Horgan is considering recovery initiatives.

Jock Finlayson, executive vice-president of the Business Council of B.C., said the latest job numbers indicate the province is on its way toward recovery and the government should move to implement both short-term and long-term strategies to rebuild from the COVID-19 fallout.

"If I was in government, I'd be looking at this through two different lenses," said Finlayson, whose business council is part of the premier's task force, which also includes the B.C. Federation of Labour and Vancouver Board of Trade.

"One, I would say, 'What can we do as a province to kick start this recovery?' which I think has now commenced," he said. "How can we re-employ as many people as possible as quickly as possible? There are things, I think, that can be done within the next six months."

Finlayson said the government should focus its short-term plans on starting as many parking, paving and repair projects as it can to get people working. It should also devote more effort to working with municipalities to build needed rental and low-cost housing projects, he said.

The business council is also considering proposing that the government cut B.C.'s seven per cent provincial sales tax to spur spending and development, said Finlayson.

"I think it's a worthwhile thing to explore as an option."

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