Labour demand and high unemployment in the northwest

There is an interesting situation forming in the northwest when it comes to the labour market.

There is an interesting situation forming in the northwest when it comes to the labour market.

As you can see from the story on the front page, businesses are looking for skilled workers, particularly in the trades area. In fact some industries are becoming desperate for skilled workers as major projects move forward, and the need for skilled labour is only going to grow as more and more eyes look to the northwest as a gateway to the Asia Pacific. At the moment I can rattle off a list of major projects that would need a significant workforce of trades people to move from construction to operation – the Kitimat Modernization, the construction of the Pinnacle Pellet Terminal, any of the five LNG plants proposed for either Kitimat or Prince Rupert, expansion of Fairview Terminal expected in the not-too-distant future, the Enbridge and Spectra pipelines and the oil refinery proposed by David Black.  When you look at just how many workers would be needed to construct even a few of these projects and what it could mean for the economy and growth of the region, it somewhat boggles the mind.

Contrasting the need for skilled labour is the BC government’s own employment data. According to the last release related to jobs in the province, the northwest has the highest unemployment in all of BC and is the only region to be in the midst of double-digits at 11.9 per cent. Granted that number covers a region from Vanderhoof to Haida Gwaii, but double digit unemployment can never be a good thing.

So on one hand you have a need for skilled labour – the need for which extends beyond construction and industry to some of the service and commercial businesses in the region – and on the other hand you have the highest unemployment rate in the province. Minister Pat Bell, during the last conference call on the matter, said he too was unsure how the boom in the northwest goes hand in hand with high unemployment.

If there’s something to take from this, it’s that there isn’t a shortage of available workers, there’s a shortage of trained available workers. If the government is looking for a way to solve the unemployment rate and ensure developers can meet their labour needs, training for those out of work to fill the positions needed must be made more readily available.

Just Posted

Rough seas delay Prince Rupert/Haida Gwaii ferry

Northern Expedition is expected to leave Prince Rupert for Haida Gwaii at noon on Tuesday, Nov. 13

Piano duet claims Rupert’s Got Talent crown

Best friends, Pia Khaira and Alan Phuong, were named the winners of the Prince Rupert competition

Prince Rupert trades apprenticeship program receives $20,000

Funding from Industry Training Authority supports hands-on workplace experience for students

B.C. Legions in need of young members to continue aiding veterans into the future

Lest we forget what thousands of men and women did to fight for Canada’s freedoms – but without new membership, many Legion chapters face dwindling numbers

Heart of Our City: Teaching the next generation

Sadie Dennis is passing on her knowledge of fishing and canning to youth at the Friendship House

Prince Rupert Rampage suffers its first loss of the season.

Prince Rupert’s perfect season comes to an end with a 4-3 loss at the hands of the River Kings

Delivering the paper as a family

The Northern View is looking for newspaper carriers in Prince Rupert, join our team today

Feds dropped ball with WWI anniversary tributes: historians

Wrote one historian: ‘Other than the Vimy Ridge celebration … I think they have done a very bad job’

Sides ‘far apart’ in Canada Post talks despite mediation, says union

The lack of a breakthrough means rotating strikes will resume Tuesday

Feds’ appeal of solitary confinement decision in B.C. to be heard

Judge ruled in January that indefinite such confinement is unconstitutional, causes permanent harm

B.C. health care payroll tax approved, takes effect Jan. 1

Employers calculating cost, including property taxes increases

Nunavut urges new plan to deal with too many polar bears

Territory recommends a proposal that contradicts much of conventional scientific thinking

Shelter struggles: Landlord takes over rental unit whenever visiting B.C. town

Renter’s story highlights how hard it is to find accommodation in Revelstoke

Lack of public response threatens B.C. referendum credibility

Of the few who have voted, poll finds most rejected proportional representation

Most Read