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Economy

As trusted economists and policy advisors to business and government leaders, the Council relies on sound, evidence-based analysis to inform its policy recommendations. Through diligent tracking of BC’s economic performance, we help identify the opportunities and challenges the province must navigate in order to reach its full potential.

 

BC Budget 2017 Analysis

Budget 2017 is a good news budget. While it falls shy of being a “something-for-everyone” document, it does announce some useful tax/premium reductions along with increased spending in a number of high priority areas. It also extends the province’s track record of sound fiscal management. Apart from the risk stemming from the high debt load of certain Crown corporations, Tuesday’s budget reinforces BC’s top notch credit rating.

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NEWS RELEASE: Budget 2017 Moves Toward Improved Business Competitiveness While Still Balancing the Books

Victoria - The Business Council of British Columbia welcomes today’s provincial budget, which managed to find room for tax relief while maintaining the government’s commitment to balance the budget.  This is a noteworthy accomplishment at a time of global uncertainty and when most other provinces continue to face budgetary shortfalls.  Keeping the books balanced reaffirms the government’s commitment to prudent fiscal management, and provides BC with some policy flexibility going forward. 

“Delivering a balanced budget within a climate of modest economic growth and a mixed outlook for commodities sets BC apart and signals that the province is a stable place to invest and do business,” said Greg D’Avignon, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Business Council of British Columbia.  “We congratulate Minister de Jong and his cabinet colleagues for their continued focus on disciplined expenditure management.”

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BC2035

BC2035 is about creating a shared vision of BC’s future and laying down a pathway to realize that vision. It is about initiating conversations, fostering greater collaboration and getting politicians, policy makers, First Nations leaders, and business leaders to think about, prepare for and act on the future.

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Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: Retooled U.S. tax regime could erode Canada’s competitive advantage (Business in Vancouver)

As U.S. President Donald Trump settles into office and the Republican-controlled Congress begins work on its legislative agenda, it is clear that sweeping changes are in store for U.S. policies in several areas. Overall, the direction of change is likely to pose some significant economic challenges for Canada.

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Finlayson Op-Ed: Freelance job market booming, but there are real risks (Troy Media & Business in Vancouver)

The rise of the gig or sharing economy is one of the most visible trends shaping the contemporary labour market.

Gig jobs are an example of what economists describe as non­standard work. Such work can be contrasted with a traditional job, in which a person has a durable and structured relationship with a specific employer within a permanent workforce.

Today, more people than ever generate income via contracting, freelancing, temporary assignments and various kinds of on­call arrangements.

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Assessing The New US Administration's Impact on BC's Natural Resource Industries

What the US Administration does on trade, energy and environmental policy matters to BC’s natural resource sectors, and to the overall health of our economy.

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A Tale of Two Economies: Leveraging Regional Immigration Strategies to Enhance Growth

The vast majority of new immigrants in BC choose to live in the already capacity-stretched Lower Mainland area. Most other B.C. towns and almost all rural areas attract comparatively few newcomers.

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Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: More fiscal discipline needed down at your local city hall (Business in Vancouver)

Added together, the 21 municipalities that make up 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.

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 a region that’s home to 2.5 million people, it is not surprising that local governments must earmark sizable sums to supply these services. What is striking, however, is the pace at which such expenditures have been growing in Metro Vancouver. As documented in a recent Business Council of British Columbia report (www.bcbc.com), over the past decade total municipal spending in the Metro Vancouver region jumped by a hefty 67%. Spending growth has slowed in the last few years, but the magnitude of the increase since 2005 stands out.

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RELEASE: BCBC Welcomes Provincial Government Approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project

The Business Council of British Columbia welcomes today’s decision by the province to grant an environmental assessment certificate, with conditions, to the Trans Mountain Pipeline Project and to confirm that this project has met the government’s five conditions. This is an important step in advancing a nationally significant project that will deliver benefits to British Columbia communities and workers while meeting growing global demand for oil.

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Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: 10 economic issues that will affect British Columbia in 2017 (Business in Vancouver)

As we roll into 2017, equity markets appear to embody optimism about the year to come, business investment remains sluggish and political uncertainty abounds as Donald Trump is about to assume office, Europe grapples with various existential crises and British Columbians gear up for the provincial election in May.

What will developments in the international arena mean for B.C. in 2017? How will our leading industries fare?

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Finlayson Op-Ed: 2016 year in review: Commodity markets improved but Canada lost competitiveness in 2016 (Business in Vancouver)

It’s been an eventful 12 months, and anyone asked to identify the biggest economic stories of the year faces a cornucopia of choices. To my mind, four stand out – three are “external” to B.C., while the final story unfolded within the province.

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Finlayson Op-ed: Trump's energy, environmental policies threat to Canadian business (Troy Media and Times Colonist)

As President-elect Donald Trump prepares to assume office, it is clear that major changes are in store for American climate and energy policy. Mr. Trump’s cabinet appointments, read in conjunction with the Republican Party’s platform in the 2016 election, leave little doubt that the United States will be adopting an approach to climate and energy policy that differs markedly from the one embraced by the outgoing Obama administration.

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Five Important Stories Affecting the BC Business Community in 2016

A list of five important stories affecting the BC Business Community in 2016 from the Real Estate boom to the opening of the Microsoft Vancouver development centre.

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Tapping into a "Motherload" of Opportunity

Women, particularly in the child-rearing years of 20-49 years, are less active than their male peers in the workforce. This particular group of sub-optimally engaged women exemplify “missed opportunity."

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Tapping a "Motherload" of Opportunity: How BC Can Gain From More Accessible Childcare

Women, particularly in the child-rearing years, are less active than their male peers in the workforce. The correlation between child-rearing and labour force participation is not coincidental.

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RELEASE: Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and Enbridge Line 3 replacement approval

The Business Council of British Columbia supports the federal government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain Expansion Project and the Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Project as announcement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this afternoon.

“This decision recognizes that the Trans Mountain project and Enbridge Line 3 replacement are in the national interest and that there is a place for Canadian oil in global markets, even as the world shifts toward renewable and lower carbon energy forms and cleaner technology,” said Greg D’Avignon, President and CEO, Business Council of British Columbia.  “Global demand for energy continues to grow and fossil fuels will be a major source of energy for decades to come. Canada’s responsibly sourced and well-regulated energy resources can play an important role in fulfilling this global demand.”

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NEWS RELEASE: Business Council of BC Welcomes Report by Commission on Tax Competitiveness

The Business Council of British Columbia welcomes the report issued today by the Commission on Tax Competitiveness that was appointed several months ago to examine the structure and impact of business taxes and to provide policy options that will support growth and job creation in BC.

At a time of sluggish global economic growth, heightened competitive pressure for small regional economies, and accelerating technological change, it makes sense to review the role of tax policy in shaping the environment for business activity.  Particularly for trade-dependent jurisdictions like British Columbia, a broadly competitive tax system is essential if we are to attract the investment and stimulate the entrepreneurial wealth creation needed to sustain jobs and grow incomes. 

“The Commission on Tax Competitiveness’s report outlines a number of valuable recommendations for the provincial government to consider, including some that we hope will be taken up in the February 2017 budget, and others that can be acted on over the medium-term,” said Greg D’Avignon, President and CEO, Business Council of British Columbia.  “The Business Council commends the provincial government for establishing the Commission.  We look forward to the province acting on the Commissions’ recommendations to strengthen the foundations for BC’s economic prosperity.”

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Finlayson & Mullen Op-Ed: Without pipelines, Canada's prosperity is on the line (Troy Media & Vancouver Sun)

When it comes to reaching new energy markets, Canada lags dangerously behind the Americans, who have aggressively expanded their oil and gas industry and built the infrastructure necessary to support it. 

There are approximately 840,000 kilometers (km) of pipelines in Canada — 25,000 km of feeder lines, 250,000 km of gathering lines, 450,000 km of distribution lines, and 117,000 km of transmission lines.  They carry oil, refined petroleum products, and natural gas. The National Energy Board directly regulates ~73,000 km of this pipeline network; the provinces are largely responsible for everything else.

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Finlayson Op-Ed: Economic silver linings for Canada in the Trump cloud (Troy Media)

Donald Trump’s surprise victory in the Presidential election, coupled with continued Republican control of both branches of the U.S. Congress, heralds significant changes in American policy in the domains of trade, immigration, foreign affairs, energy and taxation, among other areas.  Many Canadians are understandably uneasy about the direction America may take under new leadership.  At a minimum, Mr. Trump’s political ascendancy injects added stress and uncertainty into an already fragile and unsettled world.

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Peacock Op-Ed: Looking to B.C. Budget 2017 — Strengthening B.C.’s Competitive Position (Surrey Business News)

B.C.’s economy is in reasonably good shape and the province looks to be on track to lead the country in economic and job growth this year and likely next year as well. This relatively buoyant economic backdrop is boosting B.C. government revenues and providing the province with some fiscal room. The recently released First Quarterly Report shows the B.C .government with a $2 billion surplus in 2016-17, thanks mostly to upside revenue surprises from personal income taxes and the property transfer tax.

While all this is good news, the fact is that British Columbia’s competitiveness within North America has eroded over the past several years. The extent of the problem varies across sectors and industries. But companies operating on the land base, manufacturers, and industries that rely significantly on energy to run their operations face mounting difficulties stemming from complex First Nations claims, onerous permitting and environmental rules, and high and still rising tax-inclusive energy costs. Across the province, the forestry, mining, and oil and gas industries are at the forefront of these challenges. Closer to home, in Surrey the agriculture industry and local manufacturers (lumber mills, parts of food processing, industrial equipment, high-tech) are all also challenged by B.C.’s deteriorating competitive position.

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