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Trade, Productivity & Competitiveness

BC’s ability to adapt to a rapidly changing world economy will depend on how well we can find new ways of doing business, adopt new ideas and practices, and connect with new trading partners. The Council encourages public policies that support research and innovation, business practices that increase productivity, connections that open new trading opportunities, and processes to commercialize BC’s best research.

Finlayson & Mullen Op-Ed: Fossil fuels remain key to energy future, according to report

The International Energy Agency’s Annual World Energy Outlook 2017 was released in early November.  It provides a useful update on the shift to a lower carbon global energy system. The stepped-up deployment of clean energy technologies and moves towards electrification continue in many nations.  At the same time, rising investment in energy efficiency is lessening the need for supply additions.  However, fossil fuels still represent the bulk of global energy production and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

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Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: How government can help build bigger businesses in B.C. (Business in Vancouver)

To build a more prosperous economy, new businesses have to be created and some existing firms must grow. The business world is characterized by a high degree of “churn,” with many new entrants together with lots of exits and diverse patterns of expansion and contraction among the pool of surviving companies. Many new firms don’t have a long shelf life. About half close their doors within five years. Of those that hit the five-year mark, most never reach the 50-employee level.

But those that do grow swiftly tend to make disproportionate contributions to our economy. This is partly because as businesses expand, they become more productive – and therefore, on average, pay higher wages. In addition, as firms grow, they are more likely to export and to take advantage of the economies of scale that come from doing business beyond local markets.

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Dear Premier Horgan: Let's Build Site C

Having considered the evidence, including the BC Utilities Commission’s (BCUC) recent report, our reputational risk and the anticipated significant electricity demand as we accelerate into the digital age and low carbon economy, we offer our support for completing the project, for several reasons – some of which are also referenced in a recent submission from the BC Building Trades unions.

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Dear Prime Minister:

The TPP is more important than ever

A letter to Prime Minister Trudeau urging his government to conclude the negotiations on the TPP and implement the agreement as quickly as possible.

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Finlayson & Mullen Op-Ed: True or False: Canada is Falling Behind on Greenhouse Gas Emissions? (Vancouver Sun)

The latest international climate change meeting is underway in Bonn, Germany. There is the usual concern about insufficient progress in tackling greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and finger pointing at countries seen as not doing their part. Some of this criticism is warranted. In certain quarters, Canada is once again chastised for being a laggard: not doing enough, fast enough, while the United States, which has withdrawn from the Paris Accord, is taking credit for big reductions in emissions.   

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From Good to Great: The Benefits of Scaling Up BC Business

To build a more prosperous and innovative economy, new businesses have to be created and some existing firms must grow.

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BCBC STATEMENT on the Government of Canada's Fall Economic Update
Business Council of BC Urges Stronger Action to Tame the Federal Deficit and Improve Canada’s Competitiveness

The Business Council of British Columbia offered the following comments on today’s Economic and Fiscal Update presented in the House of Commons by Finance Minister William Morneau.

“We welcome news that the federal government’s budget deficit is shrinking more quickly than expected, mainly thanks to stronger economic growth so far in 2017,” stated Greg D’Avignon, the Business Council’s President and CEO.  “Having said that, with the Canadian economy operating close to capacity, we believe the government should be aiming to achieve a balanced operating budget sooner than they are currently projecting.”

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Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: B.C.-Alberta economic links tightest among Canadian provinces (Business in Vancouver)

Canada is a federation made up of provinces and territories with a significant amount of subnational autonomy. The provinces are responsible for delivering health care and education and have jurisdiction over employment standards and occupational regulations governing the labour market. Control of Crown land and regulating the operations of resource industries are also under provincial jurisdiction. Although independent, the provinces co-operate and are integrated and interdependent with each other in an economic sense. The two westernmost provinces, B.C. and Alberta, have especially strong economic connections and exhibit a high degree of economic interdependence.

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Finlayson Op-Ed: Financing NDP’s agenda will be a major challenge for taxpayers (Business in Vancouver)

p>The $52 billion “mini-budget” presented by Finance Minister Carole James on September 11 signals a shift in the priorities of the provincial government after 16 years of generally tight-fisted rule by the BC Liberals. For the finance minister and her BC NDP colleagues, it is time to boost expenditures on social services, education and affordable housing – while still keeping the operating budget in surplus. Skinny surpluses in the range of $250 million are projected for each of the next three years, on the heels of the $2.7 billion torrent of black ink posted in 2016-17.

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Ties That Bind: Economic Ties Between BC and Alberta

BC and Alberta have especially strong economic connections and exhibit a high degree of economic interdependence.

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New partnerships advance the Cascadia Innovation Corridor
New cross-border initiatives to connect Washington state and British Columbia

Leaders from Washington state and British Columbia today announced a suite of new initiatives focused on improving connectivity, strengthening innovation and generating economic opportunity.

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Advice to the New BC Government: Tread Carefully on Business Taxes

As appealing as it may be to advocate higher taxes on companies and entrepreneurs, there are some risks in following this path.

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Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: Digesting hard truths about Canada’s subpar trade performance (Business in Vancouver)

Canada is a mid-sized economy, responsible for less than 2% of global output. Closer to home, we represent about 8% of all economic activity across the United States, Canada and Mexico combined.

Canada is also an open economy that depends heavily on cross-border flows of trade, investment and knowledge to underpin our high standard of living. To pay our way in the world and generate the income necessary to buy imports, Canada must sell commodities, manufactured goods and services to customers in other markets.

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Punching Above their Weight:
Aboriginal-Owned Businesses

Looking to increase innovation and productivity? Take a leaf from Aboriginal-owned firms, suggests a new study by the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB).

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Finlayson: Retooling NAFTA: Canada faces harsh economic truths (Troy Media & Canadian Investor Magazine)

Canada enters NAFTA renegotiations with a rather weak hand.

Canada is a mid-sized economy, responsible for less than 2% of global production of goods and services – a proportion that has fallen gently over the last decade or so.  Closer to home, we represent about 8% of all economic activity across the United States, Canada and Mexico combined. 

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Three Hard Truths About Canada’s Trade

Canada is an “open” economy, meaning that we depend heavily on cross-border flows of trade, investment and knowledge to underpin our high standard of living. To pay our way in the world, Canada must sell commodities, manufactured goods and services to other markets. Identifying the industry sectors where we can strengthen and expand the country’s export capacity requires that we begin by examining what Canada sells to other countries today.

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Developing a Stronger Corporate Head Office Cluster:
An Important Challenge for BC

There are many reasons why policy-makers and community leaders should be keen to develop a robust head office cluster.

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Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: Economic policy advice for B.C.’s new ‘GreeNDP’ government (Business in Vancouver)

As a new B.C. provincial government gets ready to assume office, there is an opportunity for a fresh agenda and new perspectives. The BC NDP government will inherit an economy that has been outpacing the rest of the country in the growth of overall output, employment and consumer spending. However, B.C. also faces several structural challenges that in some ways belie the happy picture of robust economic growth. These challenges include excessive reliance on a frothy housing market and outsized real estate sector; alarming levels of household debt; tepid productivity growth; sluggish business investment; waning competitiveness in some key segments of the province’s export economy; and a housing affordability crisis that is affecting many parts of the Lower Mainland.

In these circumstances, the new government will need to proceed carefully in defining and implementing its policy agenda.

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BC Economic Momentum Carries On

The BC economy remains healthy, with nearly all sectors contributing to the ongoing expansion. The momentum from last year is carrying forward more so than previously anticipated, prompting us to adjust our 2017 forecast upwards.

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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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