NDP MLA Robin Austin slams use of temporary workers

Tactic shows the failure of Liberal policies, says northwest BC MLA

ALLOWING companies to import temporary workers from overseas to fill jobs in the north while the northwest has an unemployment rate of more than 10 per cent shows the Liberals have failed to address a skilled labour shortage they knew was coming, says Skeena New Democrat MLA Robin Austin.

“We’ve known for years that changing demographics would result in a skilled labour shortage, yet the Liberals have failed to match unemployed workers in the northwest with employers in the north,” said Austin in an Oct. 12 release.

A public sector Prince George economic development agency recently went to Ireland to find skilled workers and a coal mine in the northeast received approval this week to bring in 200 temporary foreign workers from China to work on their project, said Austin.

“These projects take years to develop. It’s hard to understand why the Liberal government didn’t act to ensure B.C. workers had the skills to fill these positions. Almost every day I hear from people in the community that they would love to have the opportunity to fill these jobs, yet the training opportunities aren’t there.”

September’s jobless rate in the northwest was 10.5 per cent, a slight improvement over August and July.