Return to all BCBC in the News
Published opinion pieces by BCBC staff are available here

BCBC In The News

Vancouver Sun, Barbara Yaffe: BC needs to up its export game

British Columbians need to get a lot more enthusiastic about their province’s trade relationship with Asia.

A recent survey showing British Columbians and other Canadians are less than gung-ho about developing closer economic ties with Asia is generating reaction from the business community.

The Business Council of B.C. notes more than 40 per cent of the province’s merchandise exports last year were Asia-bound — up from 23 per cent just a decade ago. And, within the next five years, the tally could grow to 50 per cent.

View Story

Globe and Mail: State of the unions: can the labour movement make a comeback?

Forty-five years ago, Jack Munro led a strike for the ages. More than 3,000 lumber workers went without pay for 224 days in the heart of the B.C. Interior, walking picket lines through the winter to win wage parity with union members on the coast.

View Story

Vancouver Sun, Don Cayo: BC wages drop further behind the rest of Canada

Average wages in B.C. have trailed the rest of Canada for a year or more, and now they’re falling even further behind.

This is the bad news emerging from Tuesday’s superficially upbeat release from Statistics Canada on the latest national and provincial average wage figures. 

View Story

Vancouver Sun, Barbara Yafffe: Transport, BC's business, a top generator of greenhouse gases

B.C.’s status as a transportation hub is making the task of achieving legislated provincial targets for greenhouse gas reductions problematic.

That message was delivered by the Business Council of B.C. in its latest environment and energy bulletin.

Transportation, notes the council, generates one quarter of all GHG emissions in Canada. But in this province, it generates nearly 40 per cent of emissions.

While it would be easy to blame all nasty greenhouse gases on big industrial enterprises with belching smokestacks, in fact much of B.C.’s GHG generation comes from plain old transportation.

To be sure, transportation, in all its forms, makes the world go around. But it’s a focus of particular concern in an age of climate change.

B.C.’s government introduced a revenue-neutral carbon tax back in 2008, the same year it optimistically legislated targeted GHG reductions of 33 per cent of 2007 levels by 2020, and 80 per cent by 2050.

But the options for reducing all those transport-linked emissions are “challenging and limited,” according to Denise Dalmer, environment and sustainability director at the business council who, with Jonathan Arnold, co-wrote the recent bulletin.

View Story

Vancouver Sun, Barbara Yaffe: BC retailers squeezed from all sides

Nadia Toto is a Montreal designer whose clothing is featured at a fashionable shop on South Granville — which is where I spotted and tried on the perfect little-black-dress sporting a price tag that said Ouch!

Later, with a Google search, the identical dress showed up on the website of a Quebec online boutique offering free shipping. The cost: one third less, for a saving of $158. How could I resist?

This phenomenon, whereby a consumer sees something in a store, touches it, tries it on, checks it out, but subsequently opts to make the purchase online, has grown so common it has a label: “Showrooming.”

And those selling exclusively online, like the Quebec online boutique, are known as “e-tailers.”

The world has changed, and traditional B.C. retailers are feeling squeezed.

View Story

Vancouver Sun: British Columbia boasts job opportunity bright spots

[Excerpt]

How good or bad employment prospects are around the province depends on how much the various regions are exposed to B.C.’s better-performing resource industries, or if they are suffering the general post-recession malaise.

Prince George’s low unemployment rate has a big influence on the region’s overall unemployment rate of 5.5 per cent.

“That’s consistent with what we’ve been hearing for quite some time,” economist Ken Peacock said of recruiting difficulties in Prince George. “Population growth hasn’t been strong in the northern parts of the province and seems to be the lure of attraction of the Lower Mainland and other larger urban centres, that’ll be part of the story as well.”

Generally, however, said Peacock, chief economist for the Business Council of B.C., job growth in the province has averaged out at a sluggish 0.1 per cent since the start of the year compared with a national average of 1.5 per cent, which isn’t strong in itself.

View Story

Troy Media: BC Retailers hit hard by cross border shopping

Troy media published the Business Council of British Columbia's recent Policy Perspectives, Surge in Cross-Border Shopping Weighs on Retail Sales in BC. 

View Story

Bellingham Herald: Crossborder shopping craze hampering BC retail growth

A new report indicates the increased number of British Columbians shopping in Northwest Washington is dampening retail growth in the province. The Business Council of British Columbia estimates that B.C. residents spent $1 billion to $1.6 billion in retail while on short-term cross-border shopping trips to the U.S. in 2012.

View Story

BC CTV: British Colubians spending billions at US stores: report

British Columbian businesses say they’re losing out on billions of dollars to stores south of the border as the number of U.S.-bound shoppers continues its sharp growth – more than doubling in the last few years. The Business Council of British Columbia estimates that B.C. residents spent between $1 billion and $1.6-billion on short-term cross-border shopping trips to the United States last year, while increasing their annual trips to the U.S. over the past few years from 2.3 million to nearly 5.7 million.

View Story

Vancouver Sun: Cross-border shoppers cost BC economy billions each year: study

Cross-border shopping cost British Columbia’s retail sector as much as $2.6 billion in the last year, according to a new report from the Business Council of British Columbia.

View Story

Burnaby News Leader/Surrey North Delta Leader: Cross-border shopping a drain on retailers: study

B.C. residents spent an estimated $2.6 billion cross-border shopping in the U.S. last year, according to estimates from the Business Council of B.C.

View Story

Vancouver Sun: Cross-border shopping is a way of life for many lower mainlanders

Once a week, Mike Hallatt makes the trip across the border to stock up on products from the popular U.S. grocery chain Trader Joe’s. Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Cross+border+shopping+life+many+Lower+Mainlanders/8491002/story.html#ixzz2VpiGkJDN

View Story

Vancouver Sun, Pete McMartin: What's commerce got to do with patriotism?

View Story

BC Business: Jock Finlayson on BC's Economic Outlook

While the economic outlook for B.C. may be up in the air, Jock Finlayson sees positive signs on the horizon In May Jock Finlayson, executive vice-president and chief policy officer of the Business Council of British Columbia, presented a report: The Economic Outlook in Uncertain Times. Looking at the world's economy, housing market, banking systems and employment rates, Finlayson laid out his findings on how B.C., and the world, will fare in 2013 and beyond.

View Story

Globe and Mail, Jeff Simpson: When politicians campaign against public-sector unions

Article sources recent BCBC Human Capital Policy and Law publication, A Review in Trends in Union Density

View Story

Vancouver Sun, Don Cayo: BC can capitalize on Asia's boom

Businesses are far too prone to forget about building long-term strengths in favour of chasing short-term advantage, and governments are worse, says Dominic Barton, the global managing director of McKinsey & Company, one of the world's pre-eminent management consulting firms.

View Story

Vancouver Sun: BC leaders discuss the election result

Business Council of B.C., president At this point it's pretty clear that the economy is important both across the province and at people's kitchen tables. The premier's message of creating certainty and taking advantage of opportunities like LNG and our resource opportunities in Asia resonated with the public.

View Story

Vancouver Sun: The Real Issue: Election to decide which party sets B.C.’s economic course for decades

Politicians often call elections era-defining events.

Usually, the issues don’t loom as large as such hyperbole from campaigners would suggest. But at other times, such as B.C.’s May 14 provincial election, they do.

This election is more than just a decision about which political party is best-equipped to run the province for the next four years. The next government will be setting a course for B.C.’s economic development for at least 20 years.

View Story

Vancouver Sun: Process, not politics, should determine fate of pipeline expansion, Kinder Morgan president says

The president of Kinder Morgan Canada said Tuesday that the review process for its proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, not the political debate in B.C., should determine whether or not the twinning of the Edmonton-to-Burnaby pipeline goes ahead.

Ian Anderson was responding to NDP leader Adrian Dix’s statement Monday that an NDP government would not support a major increase in oil tanker traffic in and out of Vancouver harbour.

“We understand that the associated public policy discussions about our project will occur. However, we believe that the process, including full applications and supporting evidence, should determine the outcome,” Anderson said in an email to The Sun.

View Story

Vancouver Sun Staff Blog: Hug a BC miner today and every day

The gold medal for job creation in British Columbia over the past decade goes to the mining sector. It saw a 228 per cent growth in jobs between 2002-2012. The silver medal goes to the sector supporting mining, oil and gas. It saw a rate of growth of 187 per cent. The bronze medal goes to both security services and warehousing and storage for seeing job growth of 110 and 108 per cent respectively. (Source: Ken Peacock at the BC Business Council).

View Story