With Elections Near, Tories Talk Jobs ‘n’ Roads in B.C.

VANCOUVER and RICHMOND, BC — With a Federal just over three months away (Oct 19th), Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government has been busy this week announcing projects affecting trucking and other industries as part of an overall effort to boost trade with parts of Asia.

The first involves an investment in the Asia Pacific Gateway Skills Table for two projects that officials say will help Canadians make informed career decisions and connect with available jobs in trucking, construction, shipping/marine, air, rail and other relevant sectors.

The Skills Table will develop labor market information (LMI) about Canada’s Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor for jobseekers and employers.

The Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor is a set of investment and policy measures focused on trade with the Asia-Pacific Region. Almost 75 percent of Canada’s exports to Asian countries are shipped through British Columbia’s ports, according to federal numbers.

The Skills Table will produce a 10-year supply and demand forecast for key occupations, as well as in-depth analyses of specific issues, including turnover and attrition in management positions.

Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labor and Minister of Status of Women, Andrew Saxton, Member of Parliament for North Vancouver, and Wai Young, Member of Parliament for Vancouver South, made the announcement.

“One in five jobs in Canada are directly tied to trade with other nations, including more than 80,000 in the Lower Mainland. North Vancouver’s North Shore Trade Area is a critical link in the Asia-Pacific supply chain, and contributes jobs and economic prosperity for the local community,” said Saxon. “Our government understands the importance of trade to Canada’s continued prosperity, and today’s announcement ensures that we can continue to grow and compete in the global economy.”

Up-to-date LMI will help inform workforce development, recruitment and retention strategies, given the growing importance of Asia-Pacific trade to the Canadian economy and western provinces, according to the federal government.

This LMI will be made available at HRwire.ca and feed into the LMI reports available at JobBank.gc.ca.

Under the other project, the Skills Table will develop and implement a voluntary, national mobile crane operator certification test, which will result in an industry-led approach to testing, assessing and documenting mobile crane operators’ competencies.

Meantime, officials with the Harper government separately announced two roadway projects they say will improve traffic and expand capacity in Richmond, BC, bettering the link between local businesses and key Asia-Pacific trade corridors.

The first involves the widening of Nelson Road and Westminster Highway from two to four lanes over a total distance of 2.6 kilometers, along with upgrading associated traffic signals.

This project will increase road capacities to the Fraser River Port Richmond properties sites, as well as improve the efficiency of the road serving gateway facilities, such as Coast 2000 Terminals, HBC Logistics and Westran, according to officials.

The other project consists of widening No. 6 Road from Wireless Way to Highway 91 from three lanes to four lanes, approximately 600 meters, and provide bike lanes, curbs, gutters, boulevards, and a sidewalk on the east side.

Officials claim this project will improve traffic flows and facilitate access to Highway 91 and Knight Street, according to officials.

These roadways are primary links between local businesses and key Asia-Pacific trade corridors, including Vancouver International Airport, Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and the U.S. border.

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