British Columbia’s labour market has almost returned to its pre-pandemic levels, according to a recent Statistics Canada report.

“One year into this pandemic, British Columbia has returned to 99.4% of pre-pandemic employment levels,” said Ravi Kahlon, BC’s Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation, in a recent press release. “BC’s economy remains one of the strongest in Canada, having created jobs in each of the past 10 months.”

Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey results for February showed that BC added 26,600 jobs, with the majority going to women. The added jobs dropped the province’s unemployment rate to 6.9%, down from 8% in January.

In some areas of the province, employment has now surpassed pre-pandemic levels. Prince George in Northern BC is at 106.7%, while Kamloops, in south-central BC, is at 103.3%.

“While this does not mean all sectors are back to full strength, it does mean that even as our tourism and hospitality sectors continue to struggle, our economy is growing,” Minister Kahlon said.

“It also means our approach is working to support businesses to operate safely, and it means that businesses have stepped up to this challenge with hard work and ingenuity.”

The Government of British Columbia also recently extended its Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant program to ensure businesses have the time needed to apply.

The program, which provides grant funding to small and medium-sized businesses to help them rebuild, has been extended until August 31, 2021. The program was initially scheduled to close at the end of March.

The funding is available to businesses that employ up to 149 BC residents that have experienced at least a 30% loss in revenue in any one month since March 2020.

“The pandemic has affected every British Columbian, but we recognize that some people and businesses have been impacted more severely than others… We are committed to addressing the needs of the hardest hit and ensuring our recovery works for everyone,” Minister Kahlon said.

Published on Mar. 16, 2021.