For Immediate Release
March 15, 2012
Today the Fort St. John and District Chamber of Commerce cautions the Province of British Columbia on the idea of shipping welfare recipients to the north with promise of jobs, training and housing.
President Brent Hodson spoke with Mayor Lori Ackerman and both have the same concerns including that we need to be part of the discussion of this idea. This idea may be a good idea in principle to fill the current and future labour needs of the area but there is a need for consultations with municipalities and groups like the Chamber of Commerce before a program like this can be created.
Currently Fort St. John is facing a housing shortage where there is a limited number of houses on the current real estate market and rental vacancy’s are very low. When it comes to the social side of the equation, there is a strain on the current programs available.
Our labour market in the area is a mixture of both skilled and unskilled employment. Most of the higher paying jobs that Minister Falcon alluded to will require training, education and skills for employment. Any job in the Oil and Gas Industry requires the employee to have certain safety training including First Aid, H2S Safety and other training. Plus the additional cost for safety equipment that is required to be on the job sites.
This idea will need to be developed before it becomes a program and it is the Fort St. John and District Chamber of Commerce’s hope that both groups including business groups like the Chamber and local government are invited to the table for future discussions. The communities in the north would need additional support to make a program like this work, including housing, social program funding, transportation and more.
The Fort St. John & District Chamber of Commerce looks forward to being a part of the future discussions on initiatives like this with the Province of BC.
Brent Hodson President