Delegates Consider Attracting and Retaining Foreign Investment

Panelists at the Mid-Sized Communities Forum highlighted the reality of BC’s future skill shortage, resulting from an aging and retiring population.

The panel on Economic Development: Attracting and Retaining Foreign Investment consisted of presentations from Christian Saint Cyr, Publisher and Editor of BC Labour Market Report, and John McDonald, Executive Director with Ministry of International Trade.

Mr. Saint Cyr emphasized that 50-60 thousand BC workers will reach retirement age each year for the next 15-20 years. As a result, over one million job openings will occur over the next ten years.  Many of these jobs will require special trades or technical training.

Although it is difficult to speculate whether this decrease in the labour force will occur gradually or en masse, Mr. Saint Cyr’s emphasized that the exit of baby from the labour market may mean that BC will not have an adequately skilled workforce to fill this gap.

Among Mr. Saint Cyr’s conclusions to address this future skills shortage, communities should work with educators and businesses to ensure that skills training programs reflect the emerging labour market needs in sectors to be impacted by the retiring workforce. This is a critical next step as a sufficiently trained workforce is key to attracting foreign investment.

Mr. McDonald with the Ministry of International Trade highlighted the province’s efforts and services in connecting foreign capital to communities. 

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