4 takeaways for the tech sector from B.C.’s new economic plan
The roadmap, announced today, highlights the increasingly digital way in which we work.
Ravi Kahlon is nothing if not confident. Fair enough, you probably don’t take the file of jobs, economic recovery and innovation during a pandemic if you aren’t. But still, Kahlon’s insistence that B.C. will lead Canada’s recovery out of COVID-19 was encouraging to hear.
The minister joined premier John Horgan and others today in announcing B.C.’s latest economic plan for the future. Unsurprisingly, the tech sector is emphasized both plainly and subtly in the 40-page Stronger BC document.
Here are four ways today’s announcement intertwines with B.C.’s tech sector going forward.
BCIT’s new Trades and Technology complex
The major announcement of the day was the creation of a massive new Trades and Technology complex on the BCIT Burnaby complex through a $136.6 million investment.
The development will produce four new buildings, benefiting more than 12,000 full- and part-time students per year in more than 20 trades and technology programs. It’s slated to be a hub for skills training.
Agritech is growing
Horgan indicated that there would be another major announcement coming on the weekend geared towards the agritech sector, with agriculture minister Lana Popham set to speak on how this plan ties together with her file.
The skills gap and the people problem
Kahlon and Horgan both talked about the lack of workers in B.C. to meet demand, especially when it comes to tech. That won’t be a surprise to anyone in the sector. To that end, the plan announces the creation of 2,000 new tech relevant spaces in public postsecondary institutions.
The plan also promises more graduate scholarships and internships for innovation.
Although the plan itself is light on details, it does note that it “aggressively accelerates” the timeline to connect all B.C. communities to high-speed internet, effectively closing what it calls B.C.’s “digital divide.”
The plan also seeks to get many First Nations communities connected for the first time, which it says will advance reconciliation and self-determination.
Bonus: Horgan on his game
This doesn’t have much to do with the tech sector, but we thought it necessary to include that, after Horgan and Kahlon both answered reporter Vaughn Palmer’s two questions, the premier quipped “Two questions, four answers, pretty good economy.”
Whatever you think of him, it was good to see Horgan back in form after 35 cancer treatments.