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

Parksville city hall sign. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Parksville city council approves 2021 workplan

Public input still sought on municipal budget and financial plan

Colin Springford expressed his thanks following a birthday truck parade that was held for him on his 75th birthday on April 10, 2020. (Submitted photo)
Longtime Nanoose Bay farmer Colin Springford dies at age 75

‘He will be deeply missed, always loved and never forgotten’

Nicole Shaw, left, and Sekoya Dawn next to their respective works at the Qualicum Arts Supply and Gallery in Qualicum Beach. The art will be on display until the end of February. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Acrylic artists display work in Qualicum Beach

Nicole Shaw and Sekoya Dawn both featured at Qualicum Arts Supply and Gallery

Gord John stands during question period in Ottawa in Sept. 2020. (PHOTO COURTESY CHRISTIAN DIOTTE, HOUSE OF COMMONS PHOTO SERVICES)
2020: A Year in Review with Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns

NDP MP wants to ‘build back better’ in 2021

Parksville Fire Department crews attended the scene of a house fire on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021 at the end of Foster Place in Parksville. No injuries were reported. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Fire crews called to battle house fire in Parksville

No injuries reported, kitty rescued

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

A suspect has been arrested in connection with fires at Drinkwater Elementary (pictured) and École Mount Prevost. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Arson suspect arrested after fires at Cowichan Valley schools

Drinkwater Elementary and Mount Prevost schools hit within a week

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Nanaimo RCMP are seeking the public’s help after a man allegedly assaulted a clerk at James General Store on Victoria Road on Jan. 18. (Submitted photo)
Suspect screams at customer then assaults store clerk in Nanaimo

RCMP asking for information about Jan. 18 incident at James General Store

Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
Two Nanaimo care-home residents have died during COVID-19 outbreak

Death reported Monday was the second related to Chartwell Malaspina outbreak, says Island Health

Rod Bitten of Union Bay won $500,000 in the Lotto Max draw on Jan. 15. Photo supplied
Vancouver Island electrician gets shocking surprise with $500K Extra win

Rod Bitten has been hard at work with home renovations, which is… Continue reading

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Oyster River Fire Rescue members were called out to a suspicious fire in Black Creek. Two vehicles parked at a private residence were destroyed by fire. Photo courtesy Oyster River Fire Rescue
Suspicious fire destroys two vehicles at Vancouver Island residence

Oyster River Fire Rescue personnel were dispatched to a fire at a… Continue reading

Members of the BC RCMP Explosive Disposal Unit (EDU) is on route to Drummond Park opposite of Fulford Habour on Saltspring Island after the discovery of a suspicious cylindrical-shaped device. (Google/Screencap)
Bomb disposal unit en route to Salt Spring Island after suspicious device found in park

Police say a resident discovered the device Wednesday morning in Drummond Park opposite BC Ferries terminal

Most Read