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News Releases and Op-Eds

Finlayson: The Plight of the Overeducated Worker (Troy Media)

Statistics Canada’s latest Labour Force Survey points to a softening in the job market.  Across many advanced economies, employment has been slow to recover from the punishing blow delivered by the 2008-09 recession, with young adults in particular shouldering much of the burden.  Canada has done better than most, but even here the youth unemployment rate still hovers near 14%, double the overall rate.  Many young adults are finding the search for gainful employment tough sledding.

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Finlayson: Thank exports for any improvement in Canada's economic performance in 2014 (Troy Media)

After a generally lacklustre 2013, what are the prospects for Canada's economy in the coming year? As 2014 gets under way, the signs are mixed.  

In the plus column are accelerating U.S. economic growth, continued low interest rates, and the positive impact of the weaker Loonie on Canada's trade position and competitiveness.  Among the factors likely to hold our economy back in the year ahead are sluggish global commodity markets, record high Canadian household debt, government fiscal austerity at both the federal and provincial levels, and a slowdown in residential spending. 

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News Release: Business Council of BC releases Top Economic Questions for 2014 with Council Predictions

 December 30, 2013 (Vancouver, BC) – On the eve of a New Year, the Business Council of British Columbia has released its Top 10 Economic Questions for 2014, including predictions from the Council’s senior leadership and policy team.  The questions and answers highlight the pressing issues facing the province and will help shape BC’s economic fortunes for the coming year. 

 While the Business Council predicts a respectable 2.4% GDP growth for the province in 2014, up from the estimated 1.5% GDP growth for 2013, there are many factors at play in the BC economy which will impact British Columbia’s job and investment climate. 

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D'Avignon: YVR project Earns Environmental Assessment Certificate
It is crucial that capacity grows to meet trade and travel opportunities
(Vancouver Sun)

The B.C. government recently approved the Vancouver Airport Fuel Delivery Project and granted its Environmental Assessment Certificate. This is an important milestone and something we support specifically on its merits, but just as importantly for the signal this sends to investors that seek to do business and create jobs in B.C. The message underlying this project and this decision is that B.C. is open for investment and the province can get projects approved on their environmental, social and economic merits. This includes robust review and engagement, within reasonable time frames that are crucial to economic and investor certainty.

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News Release: Business Council Condemns Apparent Attack and Violent Protest at Port Metro

December 18, 2013 (Vancouver, BC) – The Business Council of British Columbia is asking elected leaders, environmental, business and other organizations along with all British Columbians who embrace rigorous, informed and respectful debate on economic development to condemn the activists who allegedly attacked innocent staff and damaged property at Port Metro operations and offices this week.

“We are privileged to live in a democracy which functions through the rule of law, supports a prosperous quality of life that is the envy of the world and provides transparent processes which encourage informed, rigorous and open debate,” said Greg D'Avignon,  President and CEO of the Business Council of British Columbia.   “We fully expect that in a civil society, based on Canadian values, the police will aggressively investigate and seek appropriate charges and that the alleged perpetrators of this unacceptable attack will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

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Finlayson: With Victoria’s commitment to develop a global LNG industry, should B.C. revise its greenhouse gas reduction targets? (Business in Vancouver)

When the B.C. government decided, in 2007, to make climate change a central focus of its legislative agenda, the world looked different than it does today. 

There had been no global recession, no financial crisis, no disheartening spike in unemployment rates. At the same time, the public was becoming more worried about climate change and support seemed to be building for action to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that most scientists believe contribute to global warming. 

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Finlayson: Vancouver not an island, economically speaking (Vancouver Sun)

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson shared his thoughts on the future of the city's economy in an address to the Vancouver Board of Trade on Oct. 16. The mayor got it partly right. He provided an update on recent economic and business developments in the city, particularly in the high-technology sector, and he emphasized the goal of making Vancouver a recognized leader in innovation.

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Release: BC Business Leaders Welcome Canada-EU Agreement

The Business Council of British Columbia today offered strong support for the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) that Canada has concluded with the European Union.

“After four years of negotiations, we are pleased that Canada has reached this milestone agreement-in-principle with our European partners,” stated Greg D’Avignon, President and CEO of the Business Council of British Columbia.  “CETA is good news for BC consumers and our economy, and adds momentum for Canada in the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership Treaty talks that when concluded will form an important part of securing opportunity for BC and Canada in the growing Asian economy.”

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New study finds British Columbia's corporate community contributes $370 million annually to the province's charities

Today, the Business Council of British Columbia released a first-of-its-kind study conducted by MNP which found that British Columbia’s business community contributes approximately $370 million in cash donations, sponsorships and partnerships to community and charitable organizations across the province each year. This is the first comprehensive study on the current levels of overall charitable contributions and partnership made by BC businesses in the province.

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News Release: Business Council Releases White Paper on Energy Policy in BC: Building New Energy Advantages for BC

The Business Council of BC today released a comprehensive review of provincial energy policies designed to help advance the development of BC's vast array of energy resources in a more coordinated and market driven manner.

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D'Avignon: BC could be world leader in safe transportation of energy products (Vancouver Sun)

The West Coast Spill Response Study outlines issues that need to be addressed to prevent oil spills and ensure an effective, coordinated response should one occur in the future. Such spills could stem from B.C.-originated marine traffic or transitory traffic near our coast involving the shipment of oil or oil products from Alaska to the nearby centre of oil-refining complexes across Georgia Straight at Cherry Point in Washington state.

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Finlayson: Tax the rich! Oh, wait, we already do (Vancouver Sun)

The federal budget presented last March offered a timely reminder of something that many Canadians may not realize: a surprisingly big slice of the federal government's overall revenues comes from a single source, the personal income tax (PIT).

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D’Avignon: B.C. could be world leader in safe transportation of energy products (Vancouver Sun)

The West Coast Spill Response Study outlines issues that need to be addressed to prevent oil spills and ensure an effective, coordinated response should one occur in the future. Such spills could stem from B.C.-originated marine traffic or transitory traffic near our coast involving the shipment of oil or oil products from Alaska to the nearby centre of oil-refining complexes across Georgia Straight at Cherry Point in Washington state.

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British Columbia's leading business organizations issue final report of The BC Agenda for Shared Prosperity
Year long process delivers 60 recommendations on creating a more prosperous province for all British Columbians

September 25, 2013 (Vancouver, BC) – The Business Council of British Columbia and the British Columbia Chamber of Commerce today released the final report of the BC Agenda for Shared Prosperity initiative. For a year, the two organizations have sought expert and community-based answers to the question: “How can BC become a more prosperous province for all British Columbians?”

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Finlayson: Half of Greater Vancouverites will be foreign born by 2021 (Vancouver Sun)

The results of the 2011 census and the National Household Survey confirm what most people already know: The population is aging, with the front end of the baby boom generation having reached 65 in 2011.

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Finlayson: By 2021, half of all Greater Vancouverites likely foreign-born (Troy Media)

Statistics Canada has just started to release data drawn from its 2011 census and a major National Household Survey which the agency undertook at the same time. The results confirm what most people already know:

  • The population is aging, with the front-end of the baby boom generation having reached 65 in 2011;
  • Canadian society is urbanizing, as more of us are living in large and mid-sized cities;
  • There are more one-person households, reflecting high divorce rates as well as longer life spans, and;
  • The workforce and population are becoming increasingly multi-ethnic, as immigration continues to shape the nation’s demographic profile.

All of these national-level trends are evident in British Columbia.

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Release:
BUSINESS COUNCIL OF BC ANNOUNCES INAUGURAL BC BUSINESS SUMMIT
NOV 12-13
Annual forum an economic dialogue on BC’s prosperity

VANCOUVER, BC (Sept. 10, 2013) - With British Columbia and western Canada facing a wide range of economic opportunities and challenges that will determine future prosperity, the Business Council of British Columbia (BCBC) today announced the inaugural BC Business Summit. The Summit will bring together industry, governments, First Nations and other community leaders to explore pressing economic issues of competitiveness, trade, human capital, natural resource development, infrastructure and transportation.

The BC Business Summit: Building Prosperity through a Competitive Economy will be held at the Vancouver Convention Centre, November 12-13, and will feature a keynote address by Premier Christy Clark, who will be joined over the two days of the event by her cabinet colleagues, and an array of global CEOs and local business leaders who invest and create jobs in our province. The Summit will provide an annual venue to inform the fact base and focus discussion on our key issues and opportunities to improve BC’s prosperity. The conference format includes a series of key note presentations, breakout sessions, networking and panel discussions and a provincial Job Fair. In the coming days BCBC will be announcing exceptional speakers and panellists, senior business executives, government and First Nations leaders and community economic thought leaders participating in this first annual event.

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Finlayson: It's a mistake to ignore Japan (Troy Media)

Japan may be in a stronger financial position than some other nations with proportionately smaller government debt burdens

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Finlayson: BC needs to encourage small businesses to grow (Vancouver Sun)

Canada ranks as one of the best places in the world to start a new business, according to an annual survey done by the World Bank. But the country does less well in encouraging its enterprises to grow – and in generating private sector innovation.

The two phenomena are linked: an economic environment that nurtures and rewards business growth should also foster a high level of innovation, since growth-oriented companies are more likely to develop and to adopt innovative technologies and business practices.

In thinking about these issues, policy-makers would be wise to pay close attention to the outsized economic contributions made by the sub-group of rapidly-growing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). A 2010 study by the Kauffman Foundation estimated that the top-performing five per cent of all U.S. businesses – measured by their rates of employment growth – create two-thirds of all new jobs. And the top-performing one per cent account for a remarkable 40 per cent of net employment growth.

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D'Avignon Letter to the Editor: Mayor should embrace BC's resource industries
(Vancouver Sun)

Re: It’s not just bike lanes; city also improving economy, Letters, Aug. 2

Mayor Gregor Robertson seeks to grow our green economy and technology sectors, which we support. Technology represents an exciting growth opportunity for the region and future generations

However, the mayor ignores the role of natural resource industries as the underpinning of the economic well-being for the Lower Mainland and our province. By repeatedly attacking the coal industry, commodities sectors and the port, the mayor sends a message that the city’s economy doesn’t need natural resource or transportation industries.

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