B.C.’s minister of jobs, Ravi Kahlon, says the province is “bucking” the labour trend across Canada.

While Statistics Canada reports that the economy shed 63,000 jobs in December- the first decline since April – Kahlon says B.C. saw modest gains by adding 3,800 jobs.

Nation-wide, the unemployment rate ticked 0.1 percent higher, to 8.6 percent. 

Meanwhile, Kahlon warned that we are not are not out of the woods, as daily COVID-19 cases remain high.

“While B.C. added 24,000 full-time jobs across various sectors, including construction and manufacturing, about 20,000 part-time jobs were lost,”  he added.

However, Kahlon noted that while B.C.’s total employment has now bounced back to 98.7 percent of pre-pandemic levels, certain sectors like tourism and hospitality are still struggling. 

“We are also seeing disproportionate impacts on people of colour who are both business owners and employees,” Kahlon said.

“There is reason for hope in the long term as independent economists predict B.C. will lead all provinces with the highest gross domestic product growth in 2021 and the lowest unemployment – but only if we are successful in bending the curve and reducing transmission.

He added that the province’s StrongerBC recovery plan is underway and helping to support people and businesses. 

“I encourage all businesses that have been affected by the pandemic to apply for the Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant,” Kahlon said.

“We need to stay focused on following the advice of our health professionals for the health of British Columbians as well as the health of our economy.”