Government ad fudges job numbers: watchdog
New YouTube ads touting one million job openings by 2020 are being called misleading by a government watchdog. (SCREEN GRAB)
“For people who have been counting on jobs for themselves and their kids this is a blatant misrepresentation of the facts. It’s providing false hope.” — Dermod Travis, IntegrityBC
A government watchdog says a new ad on YouTube has the B.C. government taking credit for jobs it had no hand in creating.
IntegrityBC said the ad tells viewers there will be one million job openings in the province by 2020 — leaving the audience believing the jobs are new and linked to B.C.’s economic growth.
But Dermod Travis of IntegrityBC said the reality is two thirds of the jobs will come from retirement and the starting point for the figures is actually 2010, when the numbers were released in a jobs outlook report.
“I think (people) take away one million new jobs from when this campaign was launched and that it’s one million ‘new’ jobs,” Travis said. “With ‘B.C.’s growing economy’ I think you’re trying to underline that subliminal messaging that it is new jobs.”
He said the ad needs to say from where the figures came.
“The sad fact of the matter is there’s no regulatory authority that requires them to have clarity in advertising,” he said.
According to Travis, the use of “job openings” is appropriate technically, but many people don’t understand the nuance of the phrase and assume they’re new.
The B.C. ministry responsible for jobs said in an email that the province has been clear on its job numbers.
“The WorkBC Find Your Fit YouTube video clearly states that there will be one million job openings by 2020 in our province,” said a spokesman from the ministry. “Page 3 of B.C.’s Labour Market Outlook clearly shows that number has always included replacement numbers.”
Travis said the response doesn’t address the concerns about the advertisement.
“I put bottom dollar on the fact that the 600,000 views they’ve had on YouTube did not lead to 600,000 visits to their website to read the jobs outlook report,” Travis said. “Which they don’t even invite people to do.”