July 29, 2020 (Vancouver) – As British Columbians have come together to manage the COVID-19 health crisis over the last several months, numerous leaders from B.C. businesses, Indigenous communities, and academia have also come together to offer a bold plan to rebuild our economy; this plan is focused on collaboratively ensuring families and communities benefit and thrive, as we emerge from the worst economic downturn in a century.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an economic crisis felt by families, employers and communities across B.C., Canada, and the world. Over 230,000 British Columbians have lost their jobs – with the most significant impacts to women and young people. Many families are struggling to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. People are unsure when they can safely get back to work. Businesses that have been shuttered or seen their revenues drop dramatically from lost sales as they protect their employees and the public, face a difficult, uncertain road in the years ahead.
This plan is focussed on clear actions that can build confidence and the conditions necessary to pursue opportunities that come from the many significant advantages British Columbia possesses. With a highly educated and innovative population; a global low-carbon advantage from natural resources and energy exports; our strong social safety nets and post-secondary institutions; and proximity to major global markets, ours is a strong foundation to a better quality of life if we act with purpose.
The Stronger Tomorrow, Starting Today plan is made from 24 recommendations under five broad themes – the first group of recommendations is focused on getting people back to work quickly, and getting public and private sector investment flowing that creates good jobs. The core of the plan is focused on building the foundation for sustained growth, through a more innovative and affordable economy that encourages investment that grows businesses and that creates new jobs in the digital age. These themes are:
- Spur Economic Recovery…Starting Today
- Improve Conditions for Hiring and Private Sector Investment
- Empower People, Talent and Skills
- Accelerate Homegrown Innovation
- Make the World Cleaner and Protect the Environment
Recommendations for immediate actions that can get people back to work quickly include expanding rapid access to childcare and training additional childcare workers; accelerating investments in trade, transportation and digital infrastructure; creating more certainty by pausing new regulations and policies that would increase business costs and slow rehiring until the end of 2021; and providing a short term reduction of the Provincial Sales Tax to 3.5 per cent to help household affordability and small business survival.
B.C. has been hit comparatively hard by the largest economic downturn in a century, that has caused the acceleration of trends present before COVID-19. The pandemic has also exposed underlying challenges and weaknesses that existed in the B.C. economy despite one of the strongest performances and job creation records in Canada. To ensure a new normal that delivers a stronger future for workers and their families, B.C. must boldly tackle threats including affordability challenges for households and businesses head on. Together, by addressing the challenges and seeking opportunity through this plan, the things that could hold us back like high housing costs, heavy regulatory burdens, and a lack of productivity growth can be changed to improve our quality of life.
Stronger Tomorrow, Starting Today is a plan that calls on business, government, iindigenous peoples, academia and the people of B.C. to work collaboratively, for a better tomorrow. It is a commitment, based on this plan, by B.C.’s leaders to invest, partner, and embrace bold actions that will get British Columbians rehired and employed in new jobs in every part of the province. We can be stronger tomorrow starting today, together benefiting all British Columbians and the generations that follow if we build confidence and act with purpose.
Learn more at: www.strongertomorrowbc.com