BY-ELECTION – Councillor candidate Kathy Sinclair: ‘We need more jobs’ is accepting submissions from by-election candidates. Please keep them to 550 words or less, and include a photo.

Dear Kamloops: we need more jobs. That is unequivocally clear.

I moved to Kamloops almost six years ago because I unexpectedly fell for the place. Seeking a happy medium between Vancouver (too big, too expensive, too rainy) and Dawson City, Yukon (too small, too isolated… and those winters), Kamloops seemed a great place to settle.

Kathy Sinclair.

I chose it over Kelowna, Salmon Arm and Vernon; I was wooed by the weather, the walkable downtown core with its quaint shops and cafes, and the pitch of an old friend who had moved here with her family.

I’d lived in many cities before and had always prided myself on being employable. My work experience has included everything from cleaning rooms and slinging baked goods to fundraising and writing for tech companies. Surely there would be a job in Kamloops for me.

Two months later, I had applied for over 40 jobs – everything from reception at a podiatrist clinic to a gig at the library – each with a carefully crafted cover letter. I had several interviews. Nothing panned out.

It would be another month before I found a part-time job in retail, and another three months yet until I was hired to manage the Kamloops Arts Council – the stroke of luck I needed at the right time, the assurance I could stay in the city I’d chosen.

Not everyone is so lucky.

The unemployment rate in Kamloops is 7.7%, 2% higher than the provincial average.

At the same time, employers are reporting a skilled labour shortage in Kamloops – more engineers, urban planners and tradespeople are needed.

What we seem to have in Kamloops is an odd mismatch: local job-seekers who don’t have the qualifications for the jobs available, and businesses unable to find the workers they need.

There are solutions to this. It’s going to take time and coordination.

Jobs don’t happen in a vacuum. If we’re going to create more jobs, we need to support small business, the backbone of the Kamloops economy.

We need to create more educational and vocational training opportunities, and perhaps even hiring subsidies, so that locals don’t need to go to Vancouver or Kelowna for training (sometimes never to return), and companies can find the skilled labour they need.

Let’s also be intentional about expanding industries like tech, film, tourism, education and agriculture, food and wine — industries that will both take us into the future and create more jobs.

What can be done at the City Council level to make these things happen? Increasing liveability through things like better transit and more attractions are two practical examples of the things entrepreneurs and companies are looking for (in fact, Amazon is now looking for a place to relocate its headquarters, and transit and liveability are at the top of their list).

The city of Stratford, Ontario reinvented itself as a tech-sector hotspot by installing free wifi throughout the town.

To be clear, diversifying our economy doesn’t mean shunning what came before it. Resource-based industries are a part of Kamloops’ heritage. I honour that, even as I invite our city to take its next steps.

It won’t happen overnight. It’s going to take time, and chances are it won’t be simple. But with a clear vision and steady effort, I know we can do it.


Phone: 250.299.1203



Twitter: @ksinclai

About Mel Rothenburger (9358 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

10 Comments on BY-ELECTION – Councillor candidate Kathy Sinclair: ‘We need more jobs’

  1. If skilled labour is in short supply, but unskilled labour is in abundance and contributing to the ‘high’ unemployment rate, it strikes me that we should first be finding ways to improve the average skillset of the community. Better to fill the skilled vacancies that pay well, than attempt to create more low paying unskilled jobs. Otherwise the employers looking for the people they can pay well will still be looking, and those in the unskilled positions will be pushing for a raise in the minimum wage.

    • Absolutely… as stated, “We need to create more educational and vocational training opportunities, and perhaps even hiring subsidies, so that locals don’t need to go to Vancouver or Kelowna for training (sometimes never to return), and companies can find the skilled labour they need.”

  2. sadiehunterkamloops // September 12, 2017 at 12:35 PM // Reply

    Amazon is looking for a place for it’s second headquarters – not to relocate….and those items are at the top of their wish list, they are also focused on cities of over 1 million people and some top-end incentives for the 50,000 jobs this headquarters would create. Although I would love to see this come to fruition for Kamloops, the truth is, we need to do more to support, sustain and maintain the tech companies that are established here. Although we do have the networking capacity to support this (which is why we have so many data centres) we don’t have the labour pool. It is definitely a goal post to work towards though!

    • kathysinclair // September 12, 2017 at 9:01 PM // Reply

      I stand corrected re: Amazon… although second headquarters would be no small potatoes either. Thank you, Sadie!

  3. Lorraine Winter // September 12, 2017 at 11:51 AM // Reply

    I’ve been walking my elderly dad’s dog (she, too, is elderly and just lost an eye) through the West End of Kamloops and was intrigued by the number of Kathy Sinclair signs I saw along the way. Who, I wondered is Kathy Sinclair? Thanks to this post on Mel’s site (and knowing a tiny bit about my neighbours), I will get my vote out and Kathy is more than welcome to put up lawn signs at the corner of McIntosh and Seymour St. W.

  4. We also have a major shortage of health professionals. If you go to school to become a health professional, there is a great chance you’ll find work here at home.

    • kathysinclair // September 12, 2017 at 9:04 PM // Reply

      Absolutely, Cara… have had some interesting conversations with Division of Family Practice to that end as well.

  5. To borrow your words Kathy…what can be done at the City Council level to make these things (jobs) happen? Increasing liveability through things like better transit and more attractions…that’s all you got?
    I mean better transit for sure, but how?
    What about we tear-up those ugly inadequate plastic shelters and replace them with cool, Kamloops made clean and comfortable ones? And we keep them clean from ice and snow. That brings us to the dolent point. You are going to deal with staff. They will tell you that staff always knows better. They will also tell you they need more money.
    If you then raise the point the money is there it just needs to be spent smartly you will be dismissed. If you raise the point again, you will be labeled a complainer and a choir of support (for them) will quickly gather and you will no longer be invited to all the parties that count.
    Then let’s touch on attractions…which we have plenty of…expensive attractions used occasionally except maybe for the Tournament Capital Center. So how many more “attractions” can our tax base afford?
    In conclusion, I was looking around “the cloud” for information regarding your platform and thanks to the fantastic service which is the Armchair News I finally stumbled upon it.
    I was hoping for more to be honest, a person of your caliber…I had this romantic figure in mind of a savior, a vulcano of ideas. Perhaps you are just a bit shy?
    But please work more on that livability thing…in my view there is so much it can be done to improve Kamloops…noise, air quality, aesthetics, the arts (we are doing well there), the food (a tonne of potential here), our natural parks (much work needs to be done, they are deteriorating) and more.
    But always watch out for staff…think the Titanic was slow in changing course? That was light-speed in comparison.

    • kathysinclair // September 12, 2017 at 9:06 PM // Reply

      Saviour? Flattered, but I’m just a regular human. As far as ideas go, this is the tip of the iceberg. Pierre, I hope you will run for council again one day.

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