With a staggering 170,000 job losses in April, British Columbia needs bold action now

VANCOUVER (May 8, 2020) – Statistics Canada released April jobs numbers today which show B.C. has been hit extremely hard by the impacts of COVID-19. The province has now lost 396,000 jobs over the past two months and our unemployment rate has risen from 5 per cent to 11.5 per cent.

“The devastation that COVID-19 has brought to people and our economy isn’t even fully reflected in these numbers,” said Andrew Wilkinson, Official Opposition Leader. “Nationally, people who were still employed but had their hours cut due to reasons related to public health measures jumped by 2.5 million since February. If we counted the 1.1 million Canadians who wanted to work but weren’t looking because no one was hiring, the April unemployment rate could jump to 17.8 per cent.”

“The numbers released today are staggering and show the huge impacts on the economy and livelihoods of British Columbians,” added Wilkinson. “People all across B.C. have stepped up and stayed home to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and we have to make sure those people have jobs to return to as we begin to rebuild our economy. British Columbians need a detailed economic recovery plan so businesses and people can safely return to work.”

Earlier this week, Wilkinson sent a letter to Premier Horgan with constructive proposals to help B.C.’s economy get back on track and save jobs. It includes temporary tax breaks, a short-term commercial rent relief plan and a freeze on any further additional costs that would hurt small businesses and their employees in the coming months.

“Hundreds of thousands of people are out of work in this province and countless businesses are at risk of closing their doors for good. The re-opening plan from the government doesn’t include any new supports or actions to help people currently struggling financially,” added Wilkinson. “Now is the time for immediate actions that will help businesses and people today, while at the same time pulling together a plan to ensure B.C. can be resilient and competitive for the long term.”

It’s time to be bold and brave. British Columbians deserve no less.

 

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