BC's Economy Remains on Solid Growth Path Despite Muted Global Backdrop
Against the backdrop of a subdued global economy, British Columbia looks poised for healthy growth over 2016-17, continuing the pattern of last year. While parts of our economy will be held back by depressed prices for some key commodities, exports of non-resource goods together with many services – including tourism – are enjoying a lift from the low Canadian dollar. The province’s housing market also remains buoyant, supported by rock-bottom interest rates, better job growth and steady inflows of immigrants and foreign money.
Commissioned Paper: Fiscal Options for Building a Prosperous British Columbia - By Kevin Milligan
BCBC commissioned an independent review of the efficiency, effectiveness and fairness of British Columbia’s current tax system, and potential policy approaches to modernize the system in the context of today's economic realities. The Milligan paper notes that BC faces two key fiscal challenges: generating the government revenues needed to fund public programs and services going forward, and ensuring a healthy level of investment and business growth to sustain a strong economy.
Off to Work: Improving the School-to-Work Transition for Recent University Graduates
Human capital is maximized when a worker’s qualifications and skills match those required by their job. Delayed PSE school-to-work transitions may help to explain Canada’s lacklustre productivity growth.
British Columbia Needs Effective Intellectual Property Frameworks to Promote Collaborative Research and Commercialization
This issue of Policy Perspectives provides an overview of results from a recent Mitacs research project examining what attracts (and deters) foreign direct investment in R&D to Canada, with a specific focus on Canada’s outdated intellectual policy regime.
Air Quality - Where Are We Now? Where Are We Going?
Canada and British Columbia air quality has improved remarkably since the 1970s and has continued to improve from 2000 to today. There has been a steep decline in the quantities of pollutants including particulate matter, ground level ozone, nitrogen oxides, and sulphur dioxides. As a result, we compare favourably with the United States and most other OECD countries.
Federal Liberals Reverse Conservative Labour Legislation –
Does the Certification Model Have an Effect on Union Density?
The federal government is poised to enact Bill C-4 to reverse two pieces of legislation enacted by the Conservative government last year.
A Snapshot of Health Care Spending -- In Canada and Around the World
Health care in Canada consumed more than 40% of aggregate provincial government revenues in 2015, with the public and private spending necessary to provide the full suite of health services amounting to 10.7% of national GDP.
Federal Budget Delivers on Liberal Campaign Commitments...But Little New for Business
In his inaugural budget, Finance Minister Bill Morneau ushered in a new era of higher federal spending and sizable deficits. It is important to take note of the current context: a Canadian economy that’s still struggling to adjust to dramatically lower oil prices and a generalized downturn in global commodity markets. We should also take account of the federal government’s solid baseline financial position. Even with a string of deficits, the federal debt/GDP ratio is projected to remain essentially flat over the next half decade.
An Update on Union Density in BC
After tracking Canadian density rates for a number of years, overall union density in BC has now moved visibly below the national benchmark.
A New Marine Regulatory Regime on BC’s North and Central Coast?
This issue of the Environment and Energy Bulletin reviews recent and prospective developments on the north and central coast, and considers some implications for the flow of goods and resources that underpin the regional and provincial economy. It also sets out a few key principles that we believe should underpin a stable coastal regulatory regime that supports sustainable economic growth.
The 2016 BC Budget: High Marks for Fiscal Management...
But BC Must Do More to Improve Competitiveness
Unveiled by Finance Minister Mike de Jong on the afternoon of February 16, Budget 2016 tells a generally upbeat story of British Columbia’s economic performance and fiscal health. Economic and job growth are running above the national average, and BC is one of only two provinces expected to post a balanced operating budget (or surplus) both this year and in 2016-17.
BC's Growth Story Remains Intact...Despite An Uninspiring Global Backdrop
Against the backdrop of diverging growth prospects across the developed and emerging economies and substantial declines in the prices of many commodities, British Columbia is poised for another year of respectable economic performance in 2016.
Canadian Head Office Survey: How Do Metro Vancouver and British Columbia Stack Up?
This issue of Policy Perspectives reviews the recently released Statistics Canada Annual Head Office Survey, comments on its implications for BC/Metro Vancouver, and offers a few thoughts on factors that contribute to a robust head office “ecosystem.”
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.
An Overview of Canada’s Environmental Assessment Regime
As the Liberal government takes up the reins in Ottawa, it has signalled a shift in its approach to energy, environment and natural resource development, particularly in the context of resetting relations with Aboriginal peoples. As it sets out to review Canada’s EA processes, several key principles should be top of mind:
- The integrity of the regulatory process and institutions are best maintained when they are at arms-length from the political realm.
- A core purpose of a regulatory body is to evaluate technical matters in an impartial way, free from undue political or stakeholder influence.
- Regulatory reviews that set (and adhere to) timelines promote certainty for proponents and contribute to a favourable setting for investors.
British Columbia Since 1995: A Brief Retrospective
As we ponder what British Columbia will look like in 2035 as part of our 50th anniversary programme, it is useful to review how the province’s economy and society have been reshaped over the past two decades, a period of time that has seen the rise of Asia, an expansion of BC’s gateway economy, the development of new and emerging industries, various commodity cycles, changes in the currency, steady inflows of migrants, population aging, and continued urbanization.
What follows is a brief snapshot of a number of significant, high-level economic and demographic trends that have influenced the province since the mid-1990s. But first, to provide a bit of context, we highlight a few features of the political setting and the wider external environment from two decades ago.
Labour Mobility an Essential Feature of Canada's Regional Labour Markets
Canada’s labour market is dynamic. People move freely across provincial borders for a mix of reasons, including varying economic and labour market conditions. Given Canada’s vast geography and differing industrial structures across the provinces, the ability of people to migrate to other regions is an essential element of the Canadian “common market.”
The Trans-Pacific Partnership – Positioning Canada and British Columbia for the Pacific Century
The October 5, 2015 announcement that 12 Pacific Rim countries, including Canada, have signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) is good news for British Columbia. Once/if ratified by all of the signatory countries, it will take time for BC businesses to feel the full effects of the deal: elimination of some tariffs will take 10 years or more. Eventually, the global economic potential of the “TPP region” and the new areas covered by the agreement, particularly services and investor and intellectual property protections, could reshape trade flows and boost economic development in what is already the most dynamic region in the world.
Federal Election Economic Policy Primer
British Columbians and the rest of the country go to the polls on October 19. In voting, they will help to set the course for the nation’s economy in 2016 and over the rest of the decade. In this pre-election briefing document, we outline some of the BC business community’s priority issues, both for the election itself and for the agenda of the federal government that Canadians will choose on October 19.
Carbon Pricing, Fusion Style – Policy Issues to Consider When Carbon Taxes Meet Cap-and-Trade
While there appears to be a growing consensus on the need to price carbon, there is no consensus on the most effective means of doing so – either via taxes or trading schemes.