B.C. announces consultations on economic recovery plan
VICTORIA -- Premier John Horgan is asking British Columbians to weigh in on the province's economic recovery plan amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a press conference Wednesday alongside Finance Minister Carole James, the premier announced a series of consultations that he said will guide the province's policies amid the economic recovery.
"It's an invitation to regular people to be part of the solution," Horgan said from the grounds of the B.C. legislature in Victoria.
The consultations will involve an online survey released Wednesday and a series of virtual town halls over the coming weeks.
"We've been successful through the shutdown because we worked together," Horgan said. "We will be successful through the recovery if we stay on that path."
The premier said the environment and climate change must remain at the forefront of the province's economic plan moving forward.
Horgan said the province has held outreach sessions with 1,500 business, labour and non-profit groups to discuss the economic recovery plan.
But, he said, "there's been a gap – and that gap involves British Columbians."
The finance minister said the financial hit the B.C. economy has taken is unlike anything the province has seen before.
"It's too early to be able to calculate the full economic consequences of COVID-19, but we do know the effect of this pandemic is as bad as any we've ever seen in the history of our province," James said.
The finance minister said B.C. has lost 314,000 jobs since February, adding that 90 per cent of those jobs were in the services sector.
"The lowest wage earners have been the hardest hit," James said. "Young people and women have been the most vulnerable. The youth unemployment rate is a staggering 29 per cent and women make up more than 60 per cent of the job losses in the hardest hit sector."