Minister meets with Okanagan manufacturers

Jobs Minister Shirley Bond arrived in Penticton Thursday on the second stop of an Okanagan tour,

Daryl Clarke

Daryl Clarke

Jobs Minister Shirley Bond arrived in Penticton Thursday on the second stop of an Okanagan tour, meeting with local manufacturers and touring local firm Cut Technologies.

Daryl Clarke, plant manager at Cut Technologies, recently delivered an impassioned plea before Penticton city council for them to consider direct and indirect costs to businesses before raising rates at the city’s electrical utility.

“One of the  things we have to look at all the time is the additional costs that businesses in B.C. face,” said Bond, who also heard from the manufacturers about issues like jobs they can’t fill or the lack of available training.

Bond’s response to the labour issues was to talk about the Canada Jobs Grant, which offers up to $10,000 in provincial and federal funding for training, matching a one-third share from the employer. She also offered information on the province’s express entry program, which allows employers to bring qualified workers to B.C. from other countries if there is a defined need.

Bond said she also learned a lot about the affordability question, finding housing for families coming to Penticton that is affordable as well as the challenges of trying to get a spouse to relocate to an area.

“How do we attract entire families to Penticton and to our province?” said Bond adding that there is good work going on in Penticton to address the issue, and she wanted to see if it could be expanded and used as an approach across the province.

“I think we can find a way to help partner and take a look, is there a way to make sure that when you are attracting one person, you can attract the entire family,” said Bond.

Bond was impressed by the diversity of manufacturing in the South Okanagan, including Cut Technologies, which is a world leader in manufacturing saw blades, through a highly automated plant in Penticton.

“There is a significant manufacturing hub here in the south Okanagan,” said Bond. “The key message today was B.C. is much better off … because we have a diversified economy. Growing the manufacturing sector grows the GDP, it grows our exports.”

 

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