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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 & 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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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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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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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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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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