By Stephen Fuhr
The economy remains a top concern for Canadians and constituents often write to me looking for assurance that our government is doing all it can to foster an environment of economic growth and job creation.
I can assure you that Canada is in an excellent position to take advantage of today’s rapidly-changing, knowledge-based economy.
Strategic investments by the federal government through our Innovation and Skills Plan, top notch academic institutions, and a skilled workforce are helping to make this country a global centre for innovation and Canada continues to draw top talent in emerging fields from clean tech to artificial intelligence (AI).
Large firms like Toyota, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Salesforce and Microsoft are expanding, investing, opening offices and creating jobs in Canada signaling a tremendous vote of confidence in our potential as an innovation and tech hub.
In fact, Canadian cities are among the fastest growing AI hubs in the world, a global industry forecast to be worth $1.2-trillion (in US dollars) by 2020.
It’s a plan that is also producing results closer to home.
UBCO and its Digital Learning Factory is a partner in Canada’s new Digital Technology Supercluster, a consortium of industry, post-secondary, and non-profit partners that is finding solutions to industry’s most significant challenges, including in modern manufacturing.
A first of its kind, our government’s $950 million Innovation Superclusters Initiative is fostering stronger connections between small, medium-sized and large companies, academic institutions and not-for-profit organizations to support the success of leading domestic and global companies that choose to innovate in Canada.
This month’s grand opening of the state-of-the-art training facilities at Okanagan College is another success story. Supported by more than $3 million in federal support under the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund, Okanagan College has established training facilities at the Kelowna and Vernon campuses training the next generation of highly skilled workers and entrepreneurs but also serving as hubs of discovery and collaboration.
And companies like Bowman Employment Services Inc., which for nearly 30 years has designed and delivered a wide variety of employment related programs and services to students in BC’s southern interior, is working with the federal government through its Youth Employment Strategy to help local post-secondary students transition to the labour market in high demand sectors such as business, social services, tourism, trades and technology.
Canadians have created more than 600,000 jobs over the last two years. The unemployment rate is near 40-year lows, and wages are growing at their fastest rate in six years.
We have a strong, stable and predictable business climate and a sound, efficient financial system that is attracting global businesses looking to make Canada their new home.
By cultivating a strong economic ecosystem, as we are doing here in the Okanagan, we are ensuring the opportunities and benefits of a rapidly changing, knowledge-based economy will be shared by all.
Stephen Fuhr is the Liberal MP for Kelowna-Lake Country.
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