FORT ST JOHN -- People in the Peace Region have taken notice of a lack of investment in skilled-trade workers in the province of British Columbia, according to Dan Davies.

Speaking in the legislature March 12th, the MLA for Peace River North said people in his riding are considering leaving for a number of factors, including a lack of investment in the resource sector, shortfalls in the healthcare system, and the rising cost of living.

"When people have the option to move to places like Alberta or Saskatchewan where they can find good paying jobs, where they can find affordable homes, and lower cost of living, it is no wonder that many are considering this as an option,” said Davies.

According to Statistics Canada report, B.C. recorded its highest interprovincial migration loss in 20 years, with 12,800 people leaving the province and moving to other jurisdictions across Canada.

The Peace River North MLA also criticized the NDP government during his address, saying they are choosing to punish its residents while neighbouring provinces are fighting for theirs.

“The promise of working hard and being able to buy a home, to raise a family, and live a good quality of life no longer feels true,” said Davies.  

The Alberta government is calling on other provinces to try and attract workers, with a focus on skilled tradespeople.

During the last election campaign, the United Conservative Party promised to offer at least $1,200 to newcomers under the Alberta personal income tax act.

The bill was later amended to introduce the Alberta is Calling Attraction Bonus, allowing those who move to province to receive a $5000 refundable tax credit.

The province will allocate $10 million dollars from this year’s budget to attract 2000 workers to the province.

The program, first announced by former premier Jason Kenney in 2022, initially targeted Canadians living in Toronto and Vancouver.

Alberta Minister of Jobs Matt Jones says if the program is successful, it could be expanded to include healthcare and early childhood education workers.

"If this program is a success, we would look at leveraging it to other areas where we're facing labour shortages — and certainly health care and child care are two prime examples,” said Jones.

*This article features reporting by The Canadian Press.