A project-based hiring program that was supposed to allow the province to hire more people from its remote areas to fill out applications for jobs has had to trim staff by more than half in the last year, and thousands of applicants have been turned away from the program because they didn’t have a job.
In an effort to better compete with employers in a labour market that is still recovering from the economic downturn, the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development is closing its program in rural areas, as well as those that were previously part of the program.
The provincial government says the move is designed to boost productivity, cut costs and help boost job creation in the economy.
The ministry says the job-seeker portal, known as the BC Employment Service, has helped over 1.2 million people apply for jobs and was a valuable resource for many employers in the province, including in the industry that provides the majority of the province’s jobs.
But a review by The Globe and Mail reveals a new round of cuts have been made to the province.
As of last month, there were more than 1,500 job seekers who had applied to be considered for an interview at a BC Employment Services office in Fraser River, B.C. But in the two weeks since the end of the online recruitment process, there have been just four job seekers in the Fraser River office.
That’s down from 15 in the first half of 2018.
The agency says the number of people who applied to interview online for jobs was up by more that 20 per cent from the same time last year.
“It’s a sad day when we have fewer job seekers at a site that provides our province’s labour market services,” said BC Employment Minister Chris Ballard in a statement.
“We’re committed to recruiting, training and equipping more people in our province to work in these jobs.
We will continue to work with our industry partners to ensure that every eligible candidate receives a fair and equal opportunity to apply for and interview for a job.”
The ministry said it is working to improve its recruiting and hiring processes and has set up a support network to help people in the remote areas find jobs.
It is also looking to hire additional workers for the new job-search portal.
“We are committed to providing our people with the best possible support as we continue to recruit, train and equip our people for our province,” said Ballard.