Future Ready: Government’s Newest Work Supports Could Help BC Businesses Future

May 17, 2023

Dan Rogers, Executive Director for the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce

Dan Rogers, Executive Director for the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce

KELOWNA – If you own a business, or look after HR or hiring for a company, the newest labour-support announcements from the BC government may have something to give you a hand with labour issues.

The economy is changing and will continue to change rapidly over the next five years as boomers retire, millennials take the reins, and businesses and entrepreneurs settle into a continual adaptation mode.

On May 2, the government announced more details of their “Future Ready” $480M spend included in the 2023 provincial budget.

Details of the plan here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2023PSFS0023-000637

Our Chamber has been advocating for many of these initiatives as have businesses, and other chambers and boards of trade around the province. We were pleased to see that immigrants with foreign credentials are now prioritized to be able to practice in Canada.

Additionally, there are multiple plans to enhance education and trades education. We’ve listed some of the Plan highlights below.

The action plan focuses on five pillars:

  1. access post-secondary education
  2. reskill for in-demand jobs
  3. reduce barriers
  4. address Indigenous Peoples’ workforce priorities
  5. ensure people new to BC find a career in the field in which they are trained

Of immediate interest are tuition grants available in September of this year for in-demand job training, up to $3500, predicted to be in construction, tech, housing and clean energy, providing 8,500 trained employees through 2026.

The Plan includes short-term training – TradeUpBC is a continuing education hub for higher demand trade positions, that targets certified or experienced workers, and could total 6,000 workers through 2026.

Here are some specifics around support in education:

  • 3,000 more tech-related post-secondary spaces
  • Boost teacher recruitment and retention in rural areas
  • Expand graduate scholarships for students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics
  • Double veterinary medicine seats from 20 to 40 on a permanent basis (need will still outstrip supply)
  • Double student loan maximums
  • More student housing: 12,000 on-campus student-housing beds

There wasn’t much in support for the forest industry: just a note to boost positions for entering the mass-timber industry.

For businesses which can introduce new workplace innovations – a fund to implement innovative strategies to increase business efficiency.

Specific to Indigenous Peoples in BC are numerous programs which can be seen in their entirety on the government website: the main thrust is shifting government-led programs to Indigenous-led and enabling Indigenous languages and more Indigenous teachers.

People new to BC

  1. Streamline foreign credential recognition
  2. Find Your Path, online for job seekers
  3. Expand supports for learners in Indigenous and remote communities through Contact North BC
  4. Enhance the BC Provincial Nominee Program. This is a long-standing ask of many Chambers of Commerce, and we wait with guarded optimism for substantive change.

Dan Rogers is the CEO of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce


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