News Releases and Op-Eds
BCBC Statement on Provincial Government Decision to Complete Site C
We wish to recognize Premier Horgan and his cabinet colleagues for their decision today to proceed with the completion of the Site C dam. Once operational, this generational asset will provide clean, firm power within a basket of renewable assets that will support our province’s growing low-carbon commodity and energy exports in a world hungry for what BC produces. This is the right decision for British Columbia and Canada’s energy and climate future.
Finlayson & Mullen Op-Ed: Fossil fuels remain key to energy future, according to report (Troy Media)
The International Energy Agency’s Annual World Energy Outlook 2017 was released in early November. It provides a useful update on the shift to a lower carbon global energy system. The stepped-up deployment of clean energy technologies and moves towards electrification continue in many nations. At the same time, rising investment in energy efficiency is lessening the need for supply additions. However, fossil fuels still represent the bulk of global energy production and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
D'Avignon: Site C will be a strategic asset for a growing economy in the fight against climate change (Globe and Mail)
Is walking away from Site C really in the best interest of British Columbia’s future?
Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: How government can help build bigger businesses in B.C. (Business in Vancouver)
To build a more prosperous economy, new businesses have to be created and some existing firms must grow. The business world is characterized by a high degree of “churn,” with many new entrants together with lots of exits and diverse patterns of expansion and contraction among the pool of surviving companies. Many new firms don’t have a long shelf life. About half close their doors within five years. Of those that hit the five-year mark, most never reach the 50-employee level.
But those that do grow swiftly tend to make disproportionate contributions to our economy. This is partly because as businesses expand, they become more productive – and therefore, on average, pay higher wages. In addition, as firms grow, they are more likely to export and to take advantage of the economies of scale that come from doing business beyond local markets.
Finlayson & Mullen Op-Ed: True or False: Canada is Falling Behind on Greenhouse Gas Emissions? (Vancouver Sun)
The latest international climate change meeting is underway in Bonn, Germany. There is the usual concern about insufficient progress in tackling greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and finger pointing at countries seen as not doing their part. Some of this criticism is warranted. In certain quarters, Canada is once again chastised for being a laggard: not doing enough, fast enough, while the United States, which has withdrawn from the Paris Accord, is taking credit for big reductions in emissions.
Finlayson & St-Laurent Op-Ed: Education as the Great Divide (People Talk)
Where do workers envision themselves five years from now? Who has the skills to succeed in the fast-changing job market? The answer—and the level of optimism—may very well depend on the amount and type of education attained.
How workers view their careers and whether they believe they can “make it” in a digital world whittles down to one main factor: education. A recent US survey reveals that education, not household income or geography, represents the “great divide” between w
BCBC STATEMENT on the Government of Canada's Fall Economic Update
Business Council of BC Urges Stronger Action to Tame the Federal Deficit and Improve Canada’s Competitiveness
The Business Council of British Columbia offered the following comments on today’s Economic and Fiscal Update presented in the House of Commons by Finance Minister William Morneau.
“We welcome news that the federal government’s budget deficit is shrinking more quickly than expected, mainly thanks to stronger economic growth so far in 2017,” stated Greg D’Avignon, the Business Council’s President and CEO. “Having said that, with the Canadian economy operating close to capacity, we believe the government should be aiming to achieve a balanced operating budget sooner than they are currently projecting.”
Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: B.C.-Alberta economic links tightest among Canadian provinces (Business in Vancouver)
Canada is a federation made up of provinces and territories with a significant amount of subnational autonomy. The provinces are responsible for delivering health care and education and have jurisdiction over employment standards and occupational regulations governing the labour market. Control of Crown land and regulating the operations of resource industries are also under provincial jurisdiction. Although independent, the provinces co-operate and are integrated and interdependent with each other in an economic sense. The two westernmost provinces, B.C. and Alberta, have especially strong economic connections and exhibit a high degree of economic interdependence.
BCBC Statement on Election of BCAFN Regional Chief Teegee
On behalf of the Business Council of British Columbia (BCBC), our board and our membership, Greg D'Avignon congratulates Regional Chief Teegee on his election to lead the BC Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN).
Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: High-wage aspirations demand better productivity fundamentals (Business in Vancouver)
A rising statutory minimum wage can be viewed as a policy intervention that seeks to nudge higher the share of total income that accrues to labour rather than to owners of capital, with a particular focus on lower-paid workers. But it comes at a cost.
Finlayson Op-Ed: Financing NDP’s agenda will be a major challenge for taxpayers (Business in Vancouver)
p>The $52 billion “mini-budget” presented by Finance Minister Carole James on September 11 signals a shift in the priorities of the provincial government after 16 years of generally tight-fisted rule by the BC Liberals. For the finance minister and her BC NDP colleagues, it is time to boost expenditures on social services, education and affordable housing – while still keeping the operating budget in surplus. Skinny surpluses in the range of $250 million are projected for each of the next three years, on the heels of the $2.7 billion torrent of black ink posted in 2016-17.
New partnerships advance the Cascadia Innovation Corridor
New cross-border initiatives to connect Washington state and British Columbia
Leaders from Washington state and British Columbia today announced a suite of new initiatives focused on improving connectivity, strengthening innovation and generating economic opportunity.
RELEASE: BCBC Budget Commentary September 2017
The Business Council of British Columbia offered a mixed assessment to today’s provincial budget update presented by Finance Minister Carole James.
D'Avignon Op-ed: B.C. is risking its prosperity by turning off investors (Vancouver Sun & Saskatoon Star Phoenix)
Over a month ago, B.C. declared a state of emergency, marking the start of one of the worst wildfire seasons on record. In response, British Columbians came together and have continued to respond to the crisis with donations of time, goods, shelter and cash for those affected. The uncertainty and stress people and communities face is, in part, being abated by the support from all British Columbians. However, as I watch the nightly news, I have found myself asking why does it take a crisis before we feel the need to assist our neighbours and communities?
We face a similar reality in our economy.
Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: Digesting hard truths about Canada’s subpar trade performance (Business in Vancouver)
Canada is a mid-sized economy, responsible for less than 2% of global output. Closer to home, we represent about 8% of all economic activity across the United States, Canada and Mexico combined.
Canada is also an open economy that depends heavily on cross-border flows of trade, investment and knowledge to underpin our high standard of living. To pay our way in the world and generate the income necessary to buy imports, Canada must sell commodities, manufactured goods and services to customers in other markets.
Finlayson Op-Ed: The Prohibitive Cost of Living in Metro Vancouver (Troy Media, Canadian Investor Magazine & Business in Vancouver)
How can people afford to live in Vancouver? That question came to mind as I struggled to catch up with the latest torrent of media stories on the lower mainland’s seemingly inexhaustible housing boom. Of course, Metro Vancouver has long been the most expensive place in the country to purchase (or rent) a home. Indeed, relative to the incomes of area residents, it ranks among the priciest markets in the world.
Finlayson: Retooling NAFTA: Canada faces harsh economic truths (Troy Media & Canadian Investor Magazine)
Canada enters NAFTA renegotiations with a rather weak hand.
Canada is a mid-sized economy, responsible for less than 2% of global production of goods and services – a proportion that has fallen gently over the last decade or so. Closer to home, we represent about 8% of all economic activity across the United States, Canada and Mexico combined.
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.
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.
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.