BC Business Matters:
Mapping Metro Vancouver’s Corporate Economy
Ranking BC-based businesses by annual revenues is one way to develop a better understanding of the nature and make-up of the province’s business community. In this blog, we probe the “corporate economy” of Metro Vancouver by looking at the top 100 public companies in BC, 94 of which happen to be headquartered in Metro Vancouver.
Growing More Significant-Scale Firms: An Important Innovation Goal for BC
In our new paper, “Innovation for Jobs and Productivity,” the Business Council argues that innovation is the key to creating and sustaining more high-productivity, high-wage jobs in the province.
“I have a master’s degree...but I’m serving sushi.”
Despite hard work and best efforts, the majority of fresh-faced graduates experience a delayed entry into career-oriented jobs, find themselves underemployed—or both. Very rarely are young graduates told what they actually need to be prepared for in the contemporary job market.
Some Musings on the Metro Vancouver Real Estate Market
How do people in the lower mainland manage amid sky-high housing prices?
The Generational Erosion of Canada’s Skills Advantage
The youngest generation of Canadian workers is the most educated cohort to date—so why is it that older Canadians are carrying the highest literacy rates relative to international peers?
No Surprise: The Residential Real Estate Complex a Big Economic Engine in BC
Real estate sales have been running at record levels across the lower mainland, and home prices are surging. In response to elevated demand, new home construction has jumped to its highest level since the early 1990s. Renovation spending has also been strong. Casual observation and “water cooler chatter” speak to widespread media and public interest in real estate generally -- and housing prices in particular. In this setting, it will not come as a surprise that the data tracking economic output by sector confirms that real estate-related activity has become a critical factor underpinning economic growth in the province.
The International Energy Agency on Canada
Every year the International Energy Agency reviews the energy sectors of five OECD countries. The second report for Canada, Energy Policies of IEA Countries Canada 2015 Review, was recently published, drawing on data up to 2013. Overall, the IEA’s analysis provides a valuable summary of the history, context, opportunities and challenges around energy production and use in Canada, including the impacts of changing global oil prices.
Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto: Automation and the Future of Jobs
The way we work is changing. Many traditional jobs that developed over the last century are at high risk of being automated within the next 10 to 20 years. Some recent research suggests nearly 42% of the Canadian labour force may be affected in this way by 2035. The same percentage, 42%, also applies to the proportion of “tasks” performed today by paid employees that could be automated using existing technologies.
Is BC Really a Laggard on Climate Change?
In recent months, a number of groups have been advancing the message that BC is falling behind other jurisdictions in adopting policies to address climate change.
We find the claim deeply misleading.
On any reasonable assessment, BC remains a North American pacesetter on a number of important aspects of climate policy, with industry and government continuously improving policies and operational efficiencies through the availability of new innovations.
Immigration and Economic Growth
The influx of new immigrants (+86,216) was the primary driver of population growth in the first quarter of 2016. Syrian refugees comprised a large proportion of the incoming immigrant flow. Notably, Canada has never before admitted as many immigrants within a single quarter.
Linking the Education System with the Changing Nature of Work
The Canadian education system is struggling to keep up-to-date with a dynamic and unsettled economic landscape and the prospect of disruptive transformations in the job market.
The Importance of Raising Narwhals
Canada’s lacklustre ability to produce high-growth firms is concerning. This should be a foremost concern for policymakers, especially in light of recent gains in access to capital.
Millennial Musings: A Policy Response to an Aging Population
While increased life expectancy is a positive development, it inevitably translates into additional strain on health and social service budgets. As the number of retirees increase, there will be fewer working-age taxpayers to provide the government revenues needed to pay for services. On top of this, a shrinking natural birthrate is also contributing to a more slowly-growing labour force.
BC Tops the Provinces in Economic Growth in 2015
Bolstered by the lower dollar, inward migration, and a hot housing market, BC’s economy grew by a solid 3.0% (after adjusting for inflation) in 2015. This was the strongest expansion since 2006, although just slightly above 2014’s healthy 2.9% gain.
Investment Survey Signals Continued Weakness in Capital Spending
Statistics Canada’s just released capital expenditure survey confirms that the negative fall-out from sluggish energy and materials markets continues to take a toll on business investment across the country.
BC's Fastest Growing Industries Come from a Diverse Mix of Sectors
Amid the steep downturn in global commodity markets, the BC economy has held up surprisingly well. Two decades ago, a comparable world-wide mining/energy downturn would have meant malaise for the provincial economy. But what we see now, notwithstanding some regional challenges, is an economy that is on a solid growth footing.
A Healthy Increase in Newly Incorporated Companies in BC
Last year saw a total of 37,934 new incorporations in the British Columbia, a record high that amounted to an 8.5% increase in the number of newly incorporated businesses. This follows a similar-sized gain in 2014.
Three Quick Lessons for Driving Innovation in Canada
Many scholars and business analysts would agree that the U.S. does it right when it comes to supporting technology and innovation. Here are three key lessons from the 2016 Economic Report of the President to help improve Canada’s lacklustre performance on innovation.
Putting the BC Carbon Price in Perspective
British Columbia’s carbon price as of 2016 is the highest in North America by a wide margin, given its attributes and broad application across most of the province’s economy.
Population Growth Varies Widely Across BC
In recent years BC’s population has expanded roughly in line with national population growth. Between 2011 and 2015 the number of BC residents rose at an average annual pace of 1.0%, essentially the same as Canada. Alberta led the way, with the number of people living in that province surging at an average rate of 2.6% over the past four years. Population growth in Saskatchewan (1.5%) and Manitoba (1.2%) also outpaced BC. Population growth rates in BC and Ontario have been virtually identical.