December 1, 2020 (Vancouver, B.C.) – As British Columbians, Canadians, and the world learn to live with COVID-19, ensuring we have a strong healthcare and support system in place is critical. But, as we look beyond the pandemic, building back a strong economy is a top priority for families and businesses.
The economic impact of COVID-19 and the necessary restrictions placed on businesses to help stop the spread of the virus have resulted in a private sector recession most deeply affecting people and businesses in consumer facing sectors. Specifically, this has placed a strain on employees, business owners, lower income workers and families, while also creating a massive reduction in government revenues. Recovery will be advanced when we enable private sector innovation, growth and investment which create the jobs that support household incomes and replenish the government revenues which pay for important programs, reskilling and services.
In a poll conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs commissioned by the Business Council of British Columbia immediately following the provincial election, British Columbians had clear concerns related to economic recovery and equally clear ideas on how we can move forward. Overall, 83 per cent of British Columbians are very or somewhat worried about the government’s ability to maintain services without increasing taxes
- The provincial government needs to have a plan to return to a balanced budget once the COVID pandemic is over (85% agree);
- The provincial government needs to do more to support businesses efforts to invest and create jobs in British Columbia (81% agree);
- Respondents are worried that the provincial government will need to raise taxes or debt in order to pay for all of its election promises (79% agree); and
- The provincial government can't deliver effective programs and services unless B.C. businesses are thriving (68% agree).
Ensuring we act on the right priorities today to build a stronger tomorrow is important so we can manage the biggest health and economic crises that B.C. has faced in modern times. We can enable a strong private sector led, job-rich recovery that drives government revenue while supporting families, individuals and communities around the province. British Columbians supported the following ideas to stimulate economic recovery:
- Put maximum time limits in place to speed up municipal government approval times for residential housing developments (69% support);
- Streamline governments regulatory review and enforcement process by moving from a paper-based process to a fully digital process (67% support);
- Quicken project review/permitting times in order to accelerate infrastructure projects
- Freeze any new administrative, regulatory or policy changes that increase costs for businesses to support the economic recovery process (65% support); and
- Over the next few years, replace the PST with a made-in-B.C. value added tax at a rate lower than 7 per cent (54%).
Working in collaboration with business, post-secondary institutes, community and Indigenous leaders, the B.C. government needs to create the conditions to attract private sector investment and build a more resilient, inclusive and prosperous economy for all British Columbians. This is vital for the creation of jobs, and to provide government with the revenue it needs to pay for programs and protect those most vulnerable.
“While keeping people safe remains the priority for government, employers and individuals, it is clear we need to begin preparations today for economic recovery tomorrow,” said Greg D’Avignon, President and CEO, Business Council of British Columbia. “With the new government in place and prospects of vaccines being available in 2021, now is the time to be thinking about how to get B.C. businesses back on their feet, how to recoup the 100,000 full times jobs lost in the last year, and how to reinvigorate the private sector which will drive the necessary government revenues to provide essential supports and address mounting public debt.”
Stronger Tomorrow, Starting Today, the Business Council of B.C.’s Economic Plan for Families and Businesses sets out a pathway to execute on these top priorities and we look forward to working collaboratively with government to put these recommendations supported by the public into action. Together we can move forward to a stronger more sustainable and inclusive tomorrow. Review our strategy to help families and businesses build a stronger tomorrow, starting today at: www.strongertomorrowbc.com
Stronger Tomorrow, Starting Today calls on business, government, iindigenous peoples, academia and the people of B.C. to work collaboratively, for a better tomorrow. It is a commitment, based on this plan, by B.C.’s leaders to invest, partner, and embrace bold actions that will get British Columbians rehired and employed in new jobs in every part of the province. We can be stronger tomorrow starting today, together benefiting all British Columbians and the generations that follow if we build confidence and act with purpose.
The online survey of 801 adults, conducted by IPSOS Public Affairs from November 2 to November 6, 2020 is accurate to within +/- 4.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
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