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News Releases and Op-Eds

Finlayson: BC must develop a stronger corporate head office presence (Troy Media)

Success on growing more locally-based companies and attracting firms from elsewhere would produce sizable economic dividends for the province.

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BCBC Statement on New BC Government

The Business Council of British Columbia congratulates Premier John Horgan and his cabinet colleagues on being sworn in as British Columbia's new Government.

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Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: Economic policy advice for B.C.’s new ‘GreeNDP’ government (Business in Vancouver)

As a new B.C. provincial government gets ready to assume office, there is an opportunity for a fresh agenda and new perspectives. The BC NDP government will inherit an economy that has been outpacing the rest of the country in the growth of overall output, employment and consumer spending. However, B.C. also faces several structural challenges that in some ways belie the happy picture of robust economic growth. These challenges include excessive reliance on a frothy housing market and outsized real estate sector; alarming levels of household debt; tepid productivity growth; sluggish business investment; waning competitiveness in some key segments of the province’s export economy; and a housing affordability crisis that is affecting many parts of the Lower Mainland.

In these circumstances, the new government will need to proceed carefully in defining and implementing its policy agenda.

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Statement from BCBC regarding the Federal Government's Principles respecting Canada's relationship with Indigenous peoples

On Friday, July 14, the Business Council of British Columbia released the following statement on behalf of Greg D'Avignon, President and Chief Executive Officer, in response to the federal government's announced principles respecting Canada's relationship with Indigenous peoples:

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Statement from the Business Council of British Columbia on the designation of John Horgan as the incoming Premier of British Columbia

Today, the Business Council of British Columbia released the following statement from President and CEO, Greg D'Avignon

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BCBC Welcomes Leadership That Accelerates Reconciliation and Creates Business Certainty in Landmark 30-Year Agreement Between YVR And Musqueam First Nation

The Business Council of British Columbia congratulates the Musqueam First Nation and the Vancouver International Airport (YVR) for achieving a landmark 30-year agreement, and recognizes their leadership in creating a new, long term partnership for transportation, jobs and meaningful inclusion in BC’s economy.

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Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: B.C. still booming despite world's new slow-growth reality (Business in Vancouver)

In the wake of the 2008-09 Great Recession, global economic growth has downshifted. Indeed, for many economists, it has become increasingly clear that we have transitioned to a slower-growth world.

Hampered by aging workforces, persistently low levels of business investment and widespread policy and political uncertainty, the advanced economies in particular face diminished prospects. At the same time, business leaders and policy-makers are struggling with new risks amid a backlash against globalization and trade. Despite all of these challenges, with little fanfare British Columbia has been enjoying what can only be described as an economic boom.

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Finlayson & St. Laurent Op-Ed: A Tale of Two Economies: Leveraging Regional Immigration to Enhance Growth (PeopleTalk Spring 2017)

Two factors will largely determine the future trajectory of economic growth in  British Columbia:  productivity performance, and the extent to which the labour force expands over time. The hurdles to achieving long-term economic growth include an aging population, a low natural birth rate, and intense global competition for talent and capital.

Urbanization Feeds Divergence
The outlook for economic growth across B.C. is not uniform. In fact, ongoing urbanization and regional gaps in economic opportunity are feeding into a story of two increasingly diverging economies in the province.

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Open letter to western premiers to attend the 2017 Western Governors’ Association meeting

Dear Premier Christy Clark, Premier Rachel Notley, Premier Brian Pallister and Premier Brad Wall:

The rules governing trade with, and access to, Canada’s first and third largest trading partners have come under attack – threatening two decades of growth and prosperity in western Canada.

For the citizens and businesses of western Canada, it is crucial that their governments, individually and collectively, take the lead to assure that unique western interests are represented in determining the future rules for trade in North America.

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Finlayson Op-Ed: Canada's investment recession drags on (Troy Media and Times Colonist)

While Canada’s economy continues to grind out positive if unspectacular gains in employment and gross domestic product (GDP), below the surface the picture is less encouraging.

For several years, our economy has basically been kept afloat by free­spending consumers and overheated real estate markets. Throughout this period, export growth has been meagre and investment outside of the housing sector has been missing in action.

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Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: Metro Vancouver needs a cohesive economic development plan (Business in Vancouver)

In today’s global economy, the competition for talent, investment and high-value business activity increasingly is playing out at the metropolitan level. According to the Brookings Institution’s Global Metro Monitor, the 300 biggest cities account for almost half of world production and consumption, despite being home to only one-fifth of the population. Canada has six metro areas big enough to rank in Brookings’ top-300 list: Toronto, Montreal, Greater Vancouver, Ottawa-Gatineau, Calgary and Edmonton.

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Finlayson Op-Ed: The election and B.C.'s export economy (Vancouver Sun)

So far, the provincial election campaign has focused on issues such as housing, jobs, health care, education, social services and transportation.  These all matter to voters, of course, but several other topics that have received little attention to date are also important in shaping B.C.’s long-term economic prosperity. One is export competitiveness. 

In a small jurisdiction like B.C., the ability to raise real incomes over time depends in large part on whether we can increase exports and stimulate the growth of export-capable industries. Successful export industries produce many benefits, including furnishing the income that allows us to pay for imports. Most export industries also offer above-average wages and salaries. 

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Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: Income tax rates: Canada’s growing competitive disadvantage (Business in Vancouver)

Among all advanced economies, Canada imposes one of the heaviest income tax burdens on highly skilled people

The federal budget presented last month offered a timely reminder of something that many Canadians might not realize: a huge slice of Ottawa’s revenue comes from a single source, the personal income tax (PIT). Federal PIT revenue is projected to reach $152 billion in 2017-18, which is half of all of the money hoovered up by the national government. PIT is also the No. 1 revenue source for the provinces, although it makes up a significantly smaller portion of their tax base than of Ottawa’s.

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Finlayson Op-Ed: Canada's over-hyped clean-tech revolution (Troy Media)

Across Canada, politicians have become bedazzled by the potential of the “clean tech” sector to drive economic growth.  The 2017 federal budget earmarks more than $2.2 billion in new spending to boost the industry, with a particular focus on accelerating the commercialization of products and technologies that promise to lessen the environmental impact of energy and water use, transportation, and other industrial activities. 

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Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: B.C. needs to do a better job of attracting high-skill immigrants (Business in Vancouver)

Immigration continues to reshape the demographic landscape in British Columbia.

Every year, between 35,000 and 40,000 new immigrants arrive in the province. Currently, more than one-quarter of the province’s population is foreign-born. Most immigrants settle in urban centres, so 41% of Metro Vancouver’s residents were born in another country. Given relatively low birth rates and the aging of the population, these proportions are expected to rise over the coming decades.

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RELEASE: Budget 2017 Offers Opportunities for Innovation, But BCBC Cautious on Canada's Overall Competitiveness

Today's federal budget, delivered at a time of significant global uncertainty, abrupt shifts in markets, and accelerating technological change, offers new opportunities for innovation and emerging sectors. However, the Business Council of British Columbia remains cautious on the implications of the continued federal deficit and questions whether enough is being done to strengthen Canada's competitiveness.

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An innovative ‘meeting place’ between the BC business community and First Nations leadership launches to support economic reconciliation in BC

The Champions Table, an initiative resulting from the commitments made between the B.C Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN) and the Business Council of British Columbia (BCBC) in their Memorandum of Understanding signed on September 6, 2016, held their inaugural meeting on March 8th, 2017. The Champions Table establishes a formal ongoing dialogue where leaders can come together to explore opportunities, discuss barriers and work jointly to develop and advance a more effective approach to economic development based on reconciliation with First Nations.

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Finlayson Op-Ed: Growing more large companies should be a key policy goal for B.C. (Troy Media, Exchange Magazine & Castanet)

The B.C. government recently published its annual “small business profile,” a document that highlights the role and impact of the small business sector in our economy.  The table below summarizes the distribution of B.C. businesses by size category.  Of 396,000 enterprises, more than half are one-person operations with no paid employees. Another 109,500 have between 1-4 staff.  Just 7,700 have 50 or more employees.  And perhaps 1,500-1,750 of these have surpassed the 100 employee threshold. 

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Peacock Op-Ed: Municipal Spending Increases (Surrey Business News)

In B.C., municipalities are responsible for delivering a wide array of services, including fire and police protection, garbage and recycling, water and sewer services, parks and recreation, and roadworks. In Metro Vancouver, a region that is home to 2.5 million people, it is not surprising that local governments must earmark sizable sums to supply these services. Added together, the 21 municipalities that comprise Metro Vancouver spent $3.74 billion on operations in 2015. This is separate from their outlays on infrastructure and other capital projects; nor does it include spending by the regional district.

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Finlayson Op-Ed: A closer look at the 2017 BC Budget (Business in Vancouver)

Parsing the details of the Liberal government’s 2017 budget offers a number of insights into British Columbia’s $270 billion economy. The first and most significant is the advantage conferred by economic and industrial diversification.

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