British Columbia

Reality Check | B.C.'s jobs plan

The Liberals say we're leading in job creation. The NDP say we are near the bottom. CBC's Reality Check team set out to find out which claim is true.

B.C.'s ninth in job creation

10 years ago
Duration 2:31
The province's job growth rate dropped to ninth in Canada

This election campaign, you’ll likely hear a lot of numbers and announcements when it comes to B.C.’s jobs plan.

The Liberals say we are doing very well in job creation. The NDP says the jobs plan has been a dismal failure. CBC’s Reality Check team set out to find out which claim is true.

CBC's Reality Check team sets out to test NDP and Liberal claims about B.C.'s jobs plan. (Canadian Press)

The plan, including the lofty goal of being number one in the country in job creation, is Liberal Leader Christy Clark’s attempt to put her own stamp on the party.

"British Columbia is standing strong. By controlling government spending, low taxes, and investing in skills training. British Columbia. Canada starts here," says one government ad.

It plan is also the showpiece of Clark's sales pitch.

"In the first year of the jobs plan, we led the country in jobs creation," Clark told the Conference of Forest Industries convention in Prince George on April 5th.

Even the NDP won’t let voters forget about the jobs plan.

"We're seeing ads saying we're number one in job creation," NDP Leader Adrian Dix said at a pre-campaign event in Vancouver on April 14th.

"We're number nine in job creation, number nine. We've lost 34,800 private sector jobs since the premier launched her jobs campaign."

Who is telling the truth?

The NDP claim

B.C. is ninth in the country, when measuring job growth-rates against other provinces, between September, 2011 and March 2013.

Job creation Aug. 2011-2012

  • #1: Saskatchewan. 3.8 per cent growth. 20,400 jobs created.
  • #2: Newfoundland. 2.9 per cent growth. 6,500 jobs created.
  • #3: B.C. 2.2 per cent growth. 51,400 jobs created.
  • #4: Alberta. 2 per cent growth. 44,100 jobs created.

According to Statistics Canada, the province has gained about 8,000 total jobs since the launch of the jobs plan in September 2011.

But the gains have all come in public sector and self-employed work, and the Statistics Canada figures do show B.C. lost about 35,000 private sector jobs during that time.

Thus CBC’s Reality Check team has determined the NDP’s claim is true.

The Liberal claim

When the Liberals say B.C. is leading the country in job creation in the first year of the jobs plan, they’re using total numbers of jobs created, between August, 2011 and August, 2012.

But economists don't measure that way because it's unfair to smaller provinces. Instead, they use percentages or per-capita growth rates.

"Typically we look at average job growth over a year, or percentage growth in terms of number of employment levels," said Bryan Yu of Central 1 Credit Union.

"What we see is 2012, if we look at a ranking basis, B.C. was probably about fourth, and in 2011 it was sixth. So we haven't seen a strong jobs environment in the past couple of years."

There’s also an issue about when the jobs plan actually started.

The Liberals announced the jobs plan in the third week of September 2011, but they start counting from August — a month where jobs were at a five-month low.

Over those two months, B.C. gained about 24,000 jobs, three times the total job growth for the remaining 18 months, thanks in large part to a bad month in March 2013 and stagnant growth over the last year.

When it comes to the Liberal Party’s claims about the jobs plan, CBC’s Reality Check team finds they are full of spin.