KAMLOOPS – As the labour shortage intensifies in B.C. amid the Omicron surge, the BC Liberals are calling on the NDP government to expedite and expand support for businesses, cover sick pay costs, and most importantly, come up with a long-term private sector-led jobs plan as today’s Labour Force Survey results indicate B.C. lost 20,200 private sector jobs in December, in comparison to the 12,750 jobs gained in the public sector.
“There can be no sustainable economic recovery in B.C. without a private sector jobs plan and today’s jobs numbers do not capture Omicron-related impacts to the labour market,” said Todd Stone, BC Liberal Critic for Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “It’s incomprehensible why the NDP doesn’t have a plan while businesses were told to expect one third of their staff to remain home sick from Omicron, on top of the already severe labour shortage. The result of this could be catastrophic for small businesses, that were promised a COVID-19 Closure Relief Grant program in December, but still haven’t seen the opening of the application two weeks later. Why such a delay? The government must also expand eligibility of this program to help the many more businesses barely hanging on, like the events sector, event planners, caterers, and travel agents.”
As well, Stone urges the Premier to keep his promise not to download the costs of employee sick days on to businesses.
“Nobody should be forced to choose between going to work sick or losing wages, but asking employers to cover the additional costs at the worst wave of the pandemic is not what the Premier promised,” added Stone. “John Horgan’s government needs to cover sick pay costs until the end of the pandemic and not further burden already struggling small businesses.”