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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.

 

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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Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: B.C. tax regime hurts new investment in equipment, technology (Business in Vancouver)

While B.C. has recently posted some impressive economic numbers compared with the rest of the country, in a few areas we continue to underperform. The most glaring example is non-residential business investment.

Investment in “tangible” capital, such as machinery, equipment, structures, advanced technology products and engineering infrastructure, is essential to a thriving business sector. Increasingly, investment in “intangible” forms of capital, such as research and development, patents, trademarks, business processes and employee training, is also becoming a key ingredient in business success. Both kinds of capital contribute directly to economic growth and job creation in the short term. And with time, the benefits of such investments are magnified. Expanding and improving the stock of capital means that employees have up-to-date machinery and equipment, modern facilities, more efficient infrastructure and better intellectual property products to work with, allowing them to become more productive (and, hopefully, to earn more). 

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The Trump Presidency: Three Possible Silver Linings for Canada

For British Columbia and Canada generally, there are economic downsides and upsides from the new political order that’s about to take shape in Washington, D.C.

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5 Points of Interest about BC’s Labour Market

The BC job market is very healthy and employment is growing at a robust pace. Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey shows that between September and October of this year BC gained another ~15,000 jobs, further underscoring the fact that BC stands out in the federation on most key labour market metrics.

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Woodfibre LNG: Unlocking BC’s Natural Gas Assets

Statement from BCBC on the authorization of the Woodfibre LNG project

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Diverse and Growing: BC's Agriculture Industry on the Rise

BC's agri-food industry has enjoyed strong growth in recent years.

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Mapping Metro Vancouver's Corporate Economy, Part Two: Private Companies

In the first part of our blog series, “Mapping Metro Vancouver’s Corporate Economy,” we examined the biggest publicly-traded companies. This blog considers another facet of the corporate sphere: private companies.

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Finlayson & Peacock: BC economic policy needs to cultivate more large companies (Business in Vancouver)

The Conference Board of Canada defines innovation as “the process through which economic or social value is extracted from knowledge to produce new or improved products, processes…or capabilities.” In our recent paper, “Innovation for Jobs and Productivity” (www.bcbc.com), the Business Council argues that innovation is the key to creating and sustaining more high-productivity, high-wage jobs in British Columbia.

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