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Skills Training & Education

Human capital is one of the most comprehensive files on the Council’s agenda. Primary education, industry training, the university system, immigrant integration and other human-capital issues are all crucial to BC’s economic development. As BC’s economy becomes increasingly dominated by skill-demanding industries, governments and businesses have a growing responsibility to help enhance the talents of British Columbians.

Designing 21st Century Skills: Government-Driven Solutions

Recommendations for government as we collectively retool our human capital strategies for the future.

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A Snapshot of BC’s Fastest Growing Industries

We look at the 30 BC industries that have grown most rapidly over the past five years, based on average annual growth in economic output (real GDP) between 2011 and 2016.

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Tech-tonic Shifts: Supporting the Growth of a BC Tech “Supercluster”

BC is home to a rapidly growing tech sector supported by global anchor firms that, combined, are expanding new digitally-based and mixed reality technologies and firms. Of interest, Vancouver was named in the July edition of Forbes as the number one-start up region in the world, beating out the likes of San Francisco, Berlin, London and Singapore.

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Preparing Canada's Workforce for the Next 150: Part One - Government Driven Solutions

In light of Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations this year, there will be many conversations about innovative, exciting ideas to advance national and regional prosperity. During these discussions, it is important not to lose sight of the less exciting—but vital—work of tending to our policy frameworks so that British Columbians are well prepared to succeed amid shifting economic, technological and labour market realities.

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Evidence-Based Policy and Investments in Children

The social, emotional and academic skills of the population are central to the health and well-being of our citizens and our society. Economists refer to these skills as human capital and have shown that they are crucial for ensuring continued prosperity.

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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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We're Better Off When We're All Better Off

In honour of International Women’s Day, we’d like to highlight a few points that showcase women’s progress and the need to continue with policies that aim to grow talent.

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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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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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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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New Regional Effort Aims to Establish Cascadia Innovation Corridor

British Columbia and Washington leaders come together to strengthen collaboration, create cross-border opportunity

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Innovation for Jobs and Productivity:
Fostering High-Growth BC Businesses, Creating More High-Paying Jobs

How can British Columbia draw on its strengths to build a vibrant, diverse economy, one that produces rewarding employment opportunities and rising incomes for the people who work and do business here? Scholars and leading international organizations agree that the best route to sustained prosperity is by developing a highly productive economy.

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“I have a master’s degree...but I’m serving sushi.”

Despite hard work and best efforts, the majority of fresh-faced graduates experience a delayed entry into career-oriented jobs, find themselves underemployed—or both. Very rarely are young graduates told what they actually need to be prepared for in the contemporary job market.

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The Generational Erosion of Canada’s Skills Advantage

The youngest generation of Canadian workers is the most educated cohort to date—so why is it that older Canadians are carrying the highest literacy rates relative to international peers?

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Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: Business input vital to immigration system’s economic success (Business in Vancouver)

There are currently 4.7 million people living in B.C. Over the past 20 years, our population has risen by 908,000. Back in 1995, the population was growing at an annual rate of 2.8%, based on strong net interprovincial migration, international migration, and a relatively high rate of natural increase (births minus deaths). Now, the population is increasing by 1% annually, which is higher than the Canadian average but slower than in decades past.

In the next 20 years, our population is projected to expand by 1.14 million. Natural population growth dwindles after 2015 and approaches zero by 2030. At that point, B.C.’s population will be rising solely due to net in-migration from other provinces and countries. Of the two sources of in-migrants, international immigration will have a bigger role in determining B.C.’s demographic and economic future. Thus, it is more important than ever that immigration policy is aligned with our economic needs. Unfortunately, based on some initial actions by the Justin Trudeau government, it appears that economic considerations will carry less weight in immigration decisions.

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Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto: Automation and the Future of Jobs

The way we work is changing. Many traditional jobs that developed over the last century are at high risk of being automated within the next 10 to 20 years. Some recent research suggests nearly 42% of the Canadian labour force may be affected in this way by 2035. The same percentage, 42%, also applies to the proportion of “tasks” performed today by paid employees that could be automated using existing technologies.

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Linking the Education System with the Changing Nature of Work

The Canadian education system is struggling to keep up-to-date with a dynamic and unsettled economic landscape and the prospect of disruptive transformations in the job market.

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Three Quick Lessons for Driving Innovation in Canada

Many scholars and business analysts would agree that the U.S. does it right when it comes to supporting technology and innovation. Here are three key lessons from the 2016 Economic Report of the President to help improve Canada’s lacklustre performance on innovation.

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Projections Point to Balanced Labour Market Conditions in BC

The BC Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training recently released its updated labour market projections.

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Finlayson Op-Ed: Workers’ bargaining power to rise as labour shortages proliferate (Business in Vancouver)

The critical role of skills in a modern economy and the fact that many employers continue to report difficulties in finding qualified personnel raise questions about the future supply of workers.  A number of business leaders have voiced alarm about current and/or potential labour shortfalls. Some worry that the overall economy could be de-railed by widespread shortages of workers.

In thinking about this topic, it is useful to begin by considering the larger economic picture and the lessons from past experience.  Concerns about labour shortages are not new, tending to wax and wane with the state of the economy.  Temporary labour supply-demand imbalances in particular occupations, regions, or industries are not uncommon.  But as an empirical matter, serious and persistent shortages of workers have been rare in Canada.  The reason is that the emergence of imbalances in parts of the labour market typically leads to institutional, behavioral and policy responses that, over time, serve to eliminate or mitigate the effects of shortfalls in the supply of workers.

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