WHILE BILLIONS of dollars in big projects are planned for this region, public and private purses are opening in preparation — and they should.

It takes money to make it. It also takes regional spending to stimulate an economy.

But what about spending money on extra-regional labour?

Importing qualified workers can be good. These workers spend money on services like accommodation, transportation and food.

And in an age where social networks increasingly lead to jobs, post-boom opportunities elsewhere increase by meeting those with more outside contacts.

But it’s even better for our economy if qualified local workers are hired for these jobs, especially the bigger ones. Earnings are likely to be spent here after the projects are finished, meaning the money will keep circulating among those who stay.

Local workers aren’t necessarily less skilled, even if their resumes are smaller. But hiring smaller local firms for large jobs is a risk for those doing the hiring — it’s easier to assess the capabilities of larger-city firms and to pass the buck if things go wrong.

A balance could be achieved by requiring a percentage of projects be awarded locally, and/or those awarded contracts to source a percentage of their workers, services and materials from the region.

It’s time to find a way to make this a requirement in B.C.


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