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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.

 

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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A Closer Look at BC's Exports

As a small market jurisdiction, exports of both goods and services are the foundation of the BC economy. Selling goods and services to other markets provides income from external sources, which in turn enables BC households and businesses to purchase and pay for a vast array of imports. Growing BC export-capable industries is critical to raising real incomes and boosting prosperity in the long term.

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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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GUEST SPEAKER: Jeffrey Simpson's Keynote at the Fifth Annual Chair's Dinner

On June 7, 2017, Canadian thought leader and former Globe and Mail national affairs columnist, Jeffrey Simpson, provided the keynote address at our Fifth Annual Chair's Dinner.  In his remarks, Mr. Simpson shared his views of Canada at 150 and provided his unique insight into British Columbia's position in the Canadian federation, our nation's partnerships with the United States, and new challenges and opportunities in a complex world He has generously agreed to share his speech below.

Check Against Delivery

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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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Dear Mr. President...

With the Renegotiation of NAFTA Looming, the Business Council Pens a Letter to President Trump

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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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BC Election Series: Party Platforms Devote Little Attention to Making BC More Competitive

As a small, open and trade dependent economy, being competitive is vital to BC’s success and prosperity. Against that backdrop, we find it concerning that the party platforms give little attention to the shifting competitive landscape facing business in BC.

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BC Election Series: Post-Secondary Education and Innovation in the Party Platforms

Providing the next generation with opportunities to acquire the right skills contributes to stronger economic and productivity growth and should be a top-of-mind goal for incoming decision-makers. All three parties contesting the May 9 election have made promises regarding post-secondary education and innovation.

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Vancouver’s Plan Will Hurt Residents and Local Businesses

Affordability is a key challenge for people residing in the City of Vancouver (COV). Yet, earlier this week, the COV’s Green Buildings Policy for Rezoning came into effect. Once implemented, it is sure to exacerbate this problem, not just for citizens of COV but for the province as a whole as well as for the surrounding municipalities of Metro Vancouver. The policy effectively bans the use of natural gas in new buildings. It also sets the stage for Vancouver to squeeze out natural gas as an energy source for existing buildings and facilities over time.

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BC Election Series: Housing Affordability, Supply and Related Tax Policy Issues

Real estate, home prices, rental units and affordability figure prominently in all three party platforms. Each party has developed a substantial narrative around housing/housing affordability, with each platform proposing several housing-related policy measures or new/revised programs.

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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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BC Election Series: MSP Premium Commitments and the potential for 55% Personal Income Tax Rates

All three parties contesting the May 9 election have made significant promises in respect of Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums.
 

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Summary of 2017 BC Political Party Platforms

A summary and comparison of the 2017 platform proposals of the BC Liberal Party, the BC New Democratic Party and the BC Green Party in advance of the upcoming election.

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BC Election Series: Fiscal Planning and the Economic Cycle

Today, we comment on the overall fiscal context and constraints facing the government that will take office following the election, drawing on the 2017 BC budget and our assessment of the economic cycle.

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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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Slideshare: Turbulent Times: Our economic prospects in an uncertain world

In his April 6, 2017 presentation to the Annual Council of Forest Industries Conference, BCBC Chief Policy Officer Jock Finlayson described the state of the global, American and Canadian economies and their potential impact on BC's forest sector.

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