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

BCBC In The News

Vancouver Sun: Oil and gas industry emerges as centrepiece issue in BC elections

(Excerpt) The Business Council of B.C., meanwhile, said any government aiming to fiddle with the natural gas sector has to recognize that multinational corporations planning to spend “tens of billions of dollars” on LNG projects will require a “competitive and stable” fiscal regime.

“British Columbia has a lot riding on the development of the LNG sector,” said executive vice-president Jock Finlayson.

“Not only can LNG provide an important new source of export earnings, government revenue and overall economic growth, but the hard reality is that the province needs to find new markets for its abundant natural gas as the United States inexorably moves toward self-sufficiency in the commodity.”

View Story

Globe and Mail: HST: Gone but hardly forgotten in BC

For Lawrence Alder, it seemed only fitting that British Columbia reintroduced a provincial sales tax on April 1, the day of fools.

“It’s a nightmare, just like we anticipated,” Mr. Alder, controller for Delta-based International Marine Floatation Systems, says of switching back to a GST/PST regime from a harmonized sales tax that had been in place since July, 2010. “We’re going through all sorts of contortions.”

The tax flip-flop means more time and paperwork to process invoices at IMFS, which makes floating structures such as marinas for buyers in Canada and abroad.

View Story

Vancouver Sun: Vancouver's Class A office now Canada's costliest

At an average of $34.31 per square foot for Class A space in the central business district, Vancouver is Canada’s most expensive city for renting office space, and 29th worldwide, according to the Cushman & Wakefield report Office Space across the World 2013.

View Story

Vancouver Sun: Canada, BC economies to sputter in 2013 as growth forecast cut

The Bank of Canada cut its 2013 growth forecast Wednesday to 1.5 per cent and said it now thinks the economy won’t get back up to full speed until mid-2015 — about six months later than predicted earlier this year.

British Columbia could be facing a similar fate, according to Central 1 Credit Union, which also downgraded its provincial growth forecast for this year to 1.5 per cent.

View Story

Business in Vancouver: Work with Australia to tap Asian market potential, former Aussie prime minister tells BC businesses

B.C. firms should be looking to partner with Australian counterparts rather than seeing them as competitors for Asian business.

That was one of the messages from Kevin Rudd, former prime minister of Australia, who was in Vancouver as the keynote speaker for the first Circle of Prosperity summit organized by the Business Council of BC (BCBC) and the BC Chamber of Commerce.

View Story

The Tyee: Who Says BCs Election is a Bore?

What's at Stake? TURNING THE CORNER ON MAKING BC BUSINESS MORE COMPETITIVE

Greg D'Avignon, president and CEO, Business Council of British Columbia

"The most important issue facing the province is our ability to be globally competitive and maximize the benefits of our human and natural resources. Unfortunately B.C. is increasingly uncompetitive.

"If this continues, we will be unable to improve healthcare, advance our education system or generate a stronger sense of shared prosperity. We need smarter tax systems, improved educational outcomes and modern regulatory processes that attract investment.

"By growing the economy, small businesses will get bigger, larger businesses will grow high-paying jobs, enabling our communities to reach their full potential. When we are competitive, we are more collaborative, we grow the economy and we see more British Columbians participating in the benefits."

View Story

The Tyee: NDP Policy on liquified gas unclear to expert pansl

An expert panel of academics, environmentalists, First Nations and business representatives spent two hours Monday evening debating premier Christy Clark’s liquefied natural gas strategy.

But none of the participants had any strong opinions about the alternative vision offered by NDP opposition leader Adrian Dix. Broadly speaking, nobody was quite sure what an NDP government would do differently.

View Story

Vancouver Sun Op-Ed: Shared Prosperity benefits us all (Tamara Vrooman)

British Columbia is blessed with an abundance of assets, from natural resources to a skilled workforce to cultural diversity.

We are a prosperous province in so many ways.

Sadly, not everyone is sharing in that prosperity right now. B.C. still grapples with serious problems such as the second worst child-poverty rate in Canada, the nation’s most expensive housing market (which, unfortunately, is not accompanied by the highest levels of household incomes) and a generation of young people facing employment prospects that could be described as shaky at best.

As participants recently discussed at the B.C. Agenda for Shared Prosperity — Circle of Prosperity (co-organized by the B.C. Business Council and the B.C. Chamber of Commerce), leaders in business, government, academia, not-for-profits, labour unions and First Nations must find innovative ways to use our plentiful assets for the benefit of all.

View Story

iPolitics: Pushing past politics to prosperity in BC

An interesting experiment in underway in B.C. It hasn’t yet captured the attention of the national media, but that’s not surprising. It doesn’t have the snap or sizzle of a big political scandal or a business mega-deal.

However, if successful, it may be more important to the economic and social development of the province than any corporate merger. B.C. business is trying to chart a middle path for the province in partnership with a wide array of partners, some of whom have been its traditional opponents. Recently, led by the Business Council of B.C. and the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, the partners met in Vancouver at an event entitled: “The B.C. Agenda for Shared Prosperity”.

View Story

Vancouver Sun Blog: Memo to "No Growth" crowd: We need growth

Professor Christina Romer of University of California at Berkeley and Zanny Minton-Beddoes of the Economist Magazine had one point of agreement that politicians in the western world, including British Columbia, should pay attention to: Economic growth is critical for many of the problems plaguing us. Those problems include: lack of early childhood education programs, affordable child care spaces, decent jobs and income and consequently less or no social and income mobility. This is not to mention threats to the financial viability of our pension plans as the yield on investments are way below the projected rates of returns.

View Story

Vancouver Sun: Don Cayo: Lessons from Australia on how to increase trade with Asia

If you believe, as I do, that Canada could profit by taking a page from Australia’s book when it comes to trade with Asia, then you should be grateful to that country’s former prime minister, Kevin Rudd.

Rudd gave us not just a page of trade-building secrets, but several insightful chapters, during a keynote address to the B.C. Business Council’s Shared Prosperity Summit in Vancouver on Friday.

View Story

Vancouver Sun: Glut of baby boomers a big economic issue for BC, summit told

Canada would experience more robust economic and social growth if it rewarded risk-takers and reconsidered entitlement programs that are disproportionately benefiting baby boomers at the expense of children and young workers, a summit on British Columbia’s economy heard Friday.

The event, co-produced by the Business Council of B.C. and the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, attracted an international roster of speakers including former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, former Obama government economic adviser Christina Romer and former Bank of Canada governor David Dodge. It was part of a “shared prosperity” dialogue series the two B.C. groups launched last September.

View Story

GlobalBC Video: Return of PST will have a serious impact on BC business

The Business Council of B.C. says our return to the PST is the biggest single tax increase on business in the province’s history, and says it will have a serious impact on our ability to compete.

Add to that the strong prospect of an NDP government in the spring, and the business sector is calling on whoever wins in May to make sure B.C. remains open for business.

Jas Johal reports.

View Story

Tax-News.com: BC must refocus on Competitiveness in Wake of PST Switch

British Columbia's return to the provincial sales tax (PST) "represents the single biggest tax increase on business in the province’s history," and will impact heavily on competitiveness, industry representatives have warned.

A Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) system was introduced in the Canadian province in 2010. It blended the 7% PST and the 5% federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) to create an overall HST rate of 12%. However, taxpayers voted to restore the PST/GST regime in a 2011 referendum, and it was duly reinstated on April 1. The Government will have to repay a CAD1.6bn (USD1.58bn) transition payment provided by the federal administration when the HST was first implemented.

View Story

Business in Vancouver: Global business leaders to gather for BC prosperity summit

Business leaders are set to converge on Vancouver later this week at the Circle of Prosperity Summit at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will give the keynote address at the event, which is being hosted by the Business Council of B.C. and BC Chamber of Commerce.

View Story

iPolitics: BC business leaders split over return to PST

The harmonized sales tax has been wiped out in British Columbia, and the provincial sales tax is back in force, but business leaders remain at odds over whether the change is good or bad for the province’s economy.

View Story

Canoe News: BC bids adieu to HST

British Columbia’s harmonized sales tax was officially phased out Monday, sending final prices down 5% for restaurant food, haircuts and cinema tickets, among many other items.

Most retailers and small-business owners are now transitioning from collecting a flat rate of 12% HST to ringing up both 5% GST and 7% PST at the cash register.

Business Council of B.C. president Greg D’Avignon said the return of PST represents the biggest tax increase on business the province as ever experienced.

View Story

CTV News: Restaurants, business leaders in BC split over return to PST

The harmonized sales tax has been wiped out in British Columbia, and the provincial sales tax is back in force, but business leaders remain at odds over whether the change is good or bad for the province's economy.

The restaurant sector said Monday it was delighted to return to the lower tax, an announcement that was quickly followed by concerns from the Business Council of British Columbia saying the switch will hurt the province's competitiveness.

View Story

Globe and Mail: Official end of HST divides British Columbians

Fresh from a spell outside to check his beloved lilac bushes, the long-time Delta businessman said he was all set for British Columbia’s unprecedented switch back to its old sales-tax regime.

View Story

Beacon News: BC LNG sector conference concludes with big budget announcements

A 25-year export licence to Shell, $32 million in non-equity investments to First Nations and $120 million in provincial royalty credits to fund pipeline infrastructure in the province are the highlights of a recently concluded two-day international conference about the B.C. liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector.

Academics, provincial and federal government officials, First Nations leaders, representatives from 25 communities in B.C. and 192 companies from eight countries landed in Vancouver to attend the first international conference – Fuelling the Future – demonstrating potential of the BC LNG sector.

View Story