Members of Nak’azdli Whut’en First Nation officially open the Stuart River bridge in northwestern B.C., the longest free-span temporary bridge in the world, built to protect fish habitat during gas pipeline construction, July 2020. From left, Chief Alexander McKinnon, Rosemarie Sam, Carl Leon, Carmen Patrick-Johnson and Cecil Martin. (Coastal Gaslink photo)

Members of Nak’azdli Whut’en First Nation officially open the Stuart River bridge in northwestern B.C., the longest free-span temporary bridge in the world, built to protect fish habitat during gas pipeline construction, July 2020. From left, Chief Alexander McKinnon, Rosemarie Sam, Carl Leon, Carmen Patrick-Johnson and Cecil Martin. (Coastal Gaslink photo)

‘Real jobs, real recovery’ needed after COVID-19, resource industries say

Report seeks changes to Indian Act for Indigenous participation

While thousands of businesses slowed or shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic, resource industries have kept work boots on the ground in Western Canada.

Trans Mountain and Coastal Gaslink pipelines, the Site C hydro dam and lately the forest industry have carried on despite coronavirus setbacks and restrictions, and more steady resource industry work is needed to dig out of the huge deficit hole created by the pandemic, a national industry report recommends.

Resource and manufacturing industries have the potential to add as much as 17 per cent to Canada’s gross domestic product and $200 billion in labour earnings, according to economic modelling conducted for the Task Force for Real Jobs, Real Recovery, which released recommendations from a summer-long research project Aug. 19.

Sponsors of the Task Force for Real Jobs, Real Recovery include the Canadian, B.C., Alberta and Atlantic Chambers of Commerce, the Aboriginal Skilled Workers Association, Alberta Chamber of Resources, Alberta Forest Products Association, B.C. Construction Association, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada.

Advisors to the resource task force include Karen Ogen-Toews, elected councillor with the Wet’suwet’en First Nation in northwest B.C. and CEO of the First Nations LNG Alliance; Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman; Joseph Quesnel, an Indigenous policy researcher; and Michel Trépanier, president of the Quebec Building Trades.

Among the task force’s recommendations is to amend the Indian Act, which blocks the use of reserve land as collateral for financing, and improve Indigenous consultation and participation in training and work.

“Before the pandemic, weak productivity growth, an aging population and trade impacts in early 2020 already put Canada on a path for economic growth under two per cent,” the report says. “Statistics Canada reported the Canadian economy shrank 11.6 per cent in April, the largest monthly drop on record.”

The report advocates climate strategies to reduce emissions from resource production and use, plus the development of hydrogen and small nuclear power sources. It calls for a nation-wide “forest bio-economy framework,” similar to efforts in B.C. to maximize timber use and use more renewable fuels.

RELATED: Trans Mountain, LNG on track despite pandemic

RELATED: B.C. moves to allow three years of budget deficits

After a run of surplus budgets that paid down debt, B.C.’s deficit ballooned to an estimated $12.5 billion in the finance ministry’s initial estimate of the pandemic impact. Finance Minister Carole James went to the legislature in July for an additional $1 billion in spending authority to match federal emergency funds to keep municipalities and transit systems running.

James changed B.C. budget legislation in June to authorize up to three years of budget deficits. The Economic Stabilization Act formalized moves already made by the province, including postponing commercial property tax payments, and business filing and paying provincial sales tax, carbon tax, motor fuel tax, tobacco tax and hotel tax until the end of September.

Those bills come due for businesses still trying to recover and rehire staff, as governments across Canada face unprecedented spending demands and a historic slump in tax and other revenues.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirusLNGTrans Mountain pipeline

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Big White Ski Resort photo)
13 more cases of COVID-19 tied to Big White Mountain cluster

This brings the total case count to 175, of which 32 cases are active

RCMP on scene at a home on Sylvania Cres. (Phil McLachlan /Capital News/FILE)
Two Kelowna men arrested after Rutland home invasion

Two Kelowna men, including a prolific offender, facing slew of potential charges

Nate Brown photo
Okanagan-Shuswap says goodbye sunshine, hello winter

Temperatures are forecasted to drop by mid-next week

RCMP pictured at a motor vehicle incident during snowy conditions. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press Media/FILE)
Vehicle found abandoned after fleeing Kelowna RCMP, avoiding spike belt

Police believed at the time vehicle was tied to alleged shooting in West Kelowna

West Kelowna RCMP are investigating reports of gunfire in the 1700-block of Ross Road. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
West Kelowna RCMP investigating reports of gunfire

West Kelowna RCMP said the incident occurred on Jan. 14

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Harvest Meats is recalling a brand of Polish sausages, shown in a handout photo, due to undercooking that may make them unsafe to eat. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the recall affects customers in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Ontario and Saskatchewan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Canadian Food Inspection Agency Mandatory Credit
Harvest Meats recalls sausages over undercooking

Customers are advised to throw away or return the product

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Real estate sales in the South Okanagan grew by more than any other part of the province in 2020. (Marissa Tiel - Black Press)
South Okanagan fastest growing real estate market in B.C.

There was over $1 billion in residential sales in 2020

The facility in Summerland has 112 long-term care beds. Interior Health funds 75 of the beds. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Six more months for temporary South Okanagan long-term care facility administrator

The temporary administrator was appointed following site visits and concerns from Interior Health

Penticton’s 7-Eleven is closed due to an employee testing positive for COVID-19, the company announced Jan. 15, 2021. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton 7-Eleven closed after employee tests positive for COVID-19

The store will re-open “on or before” Jan. 23

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government announces creation of B.C.’s first anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

With a second case of COVID-19 confirmed at South Canoe Elementary, parents were advised Thursday, Jan. 14, that the school could be closed for a week or so. (Contributed)
Closure considered after four cases of COVID-19 identified at Salmon Arm school

South Canoe Elementary principal grateful for concern and support shown by public

Most Read