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Bloomberg: British Columbia Budget Dismays Businesses While Investors Shrug

EXCERPT: 

“The new budget will do little to boost business investment,” said Jock Finlayson, chief policy office of the Business Council of British Columbia. Compared with their U.S. counterparts, B.C. businesses on average invest less than 60 percent per employee in machinery, equipment and other assets that boost productivity, he said. 

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National Observer: B.C.'s budget calls for momentous change in housing, childcare

EXCERPT: 

The Business Council of British Columbia said it is is concerned about the cost of the new tax.

“Our initial assessment is that this new tax will increase overall payroll costs for our members by several hundred million dollars a year,” Greg D’Avignon, the Business Council’s President and CEO, said in a statement.

The BCBC said it supports the childcare investment and is cautious about the housing measures.

"While further review of their potential impact is warranted, the planned changes, taken together, are unprecedented in scope and may cause some disruption to the market,” D'Avignon said.

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BIV: B.C. Budget 2018: Reaction to affordable housing policies

EXCERPT:

Jock Finlayson, chief policy officer at the Business Council of British Columbia, called the $500 million of revenue to be generated from new housing tax announcements “significant,” noting the funds will likely go toward housing affordability initiatives, and toward general government programs. 

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CTV News: B.C. budget promises big child care savings, end to MSP premiums

EXCERPT:

But Jock Finlayson, vice-president of the B.C. Business Council, said on the housing side, the government is more focused on relaxing demand pressures than offering more immediate help to municipalities and developers to increase supply.

“If you're worried about pricing and affordability there is a supply side to the market to look at,” he said. “It's not all about demand. That's kind of missing.”

Also published in the Ottawa Citizen and Financial Post.

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CBC: 'Ignored for too long:' B.C. NDP government takes aim at housing costs with tax measures

EXCERPT: 

While much of the government's housing plan was widely praised on budget day, some groups say the province isn't doing enough to add supply.

The Business Council of British Columbia wants the province to do more to speed the pace of development, while the B.C. Poverty Reduction Coalition says not enough money has been earmarked to create housing for the province's most vulnerable.

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Globe and Mail: B.C.'s new measures aim to temper rising real estate prices

EXCERPT: 

The Business Council of B.C. said the housing measures were unprecedented in scope and may disrupt the market.

Jock Finlayson, the council's chief policy officer, said the high end of the market will feel a hit, because some new measures would increase taxes on houses worth $3-million and more. The question is the impact on the broader market. The moves will be a live public policy experiment. If prices do decline, it probably won't be extreme. "I don't think it's going to collapse," Mr. Finlayson said.

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Times Colonist: Foreign buyers tax coming to Victoria, Nanaimo

EXCERPT: 

Jock Finlayson, executive vice-president of the Business Council of B.C., said: “It’s quite unprecedented in the housing market to have several measures like that brought forward so we will see how it filters through and affects the market. We don’t know at this point.

“It could be disruptive. It may be nothing more than a hiccup.”

Government initiatives will impact the upper end of the market, Finlayson said.

About half a billion dollars of additional revenue generated from the various housing-related announcements will go to support government afforable housing efforts and other government programs, he said.

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BIV: B.C Budget 2018: Business groups slam payroll tax

EXCERPT: 

"Our initial assessment is that this new tax will increase overall payroll costs for our members by several hundred million dollars a year," added Greg D'Avignon, CEO of the Business Council of BC. 

The BCBC also notes that the government expects a fairly drastic decline in new housing starts (27% this year), which underscores the need to encourage growth in export sectors – a theme largely missing in the budget.

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Vancouver Sun: B.C. budget spends big on child care and housing, expands foreign buyer tax

EXCERPT: 

The MSP move to a payroll tax came as a “nasty surprise,” said Jock Finlayson, executive vice-president of the B.C. Business Council.

“We’re not very happy with a new employer health tax because we weren’t expecting it,” he said.

But Finlayson also said he sympathizes with the pressure on the government to do something about housing affordability and generally supports the initiatives.

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National Post: B.C. will formally challenge Alberta's wine boycott under national free trade agreement

EXCERPT:

B.C. is within its legal rights to launch the action, said Jock Finlayson, executive vice-president and chief policy officer at the Business Council of B.C., but “it’s not surprising or particularly provocative.”

“It’s not as if (the challenge) is going to resolve the issue or have a next step immediately,” Finlayson said.

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Vancouver Sun: BC Budget: NDP’s first fiscal plan will likely not live up to voters’ many expectations

EXCERPT

“If they decide they don’t want to run operating deficits, it’s unclear where the revenue will come from,” said Jock Finlayson, executive vice-president of the B.C. Business Council. “We are not expecting major tax increases in the budget. We may be wrong.”

...

“From 10,000 feet the position B.C. is in looks relatively favourable, certainly compared to many other places,” said Finlayson. “But they are operating in a very tight fiscal framework. The bottom line is on the major spending promises, they are going to have to move incrementally. There just isn’t going to be room for dramatic initiatives.”

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Globe and Mail: Alberta and B.C. walk into a trade minefield

EXCERPT: 

Jock Finlayson, chief policy officer for the Business Council of B.C., said both provinces can end up bruised if they mess with that trade balance.

"Any tit-for-tat responses from the two provincial governments in the coming weeks and months will end up hurting consumers and businesses in both jurisdictions," he said. "A trade war between two provinces that are economically very interdependent should be avoided at all costs. The losers under such a scenario will vastly outnumber the winners."

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Globe and Mail: BC's loans for first time home buyers saw little pickup last year, report finds

EXCERPT:

Jock Finlayson, executive vice-president of the Business Council of B.C., said the government should scrap the program and instead look at policies that temper, rather than fuel, demand.

"If policymakers are worried about upward pressure on prices, they should not be undertaking programs that stimulate demand," he said.

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Times Colonist: BC ride-hailing report makes 32 recommendations to pave way for regulations

EXCERPT:

"It's great to see all parties supporting ride-sharing options that would provide choice for passengers," said Ian Tostenson of Ridesharing Now for B.C. "We are encouraged by today's report and look forward to the NDP government moving forward on this file in 2018."

The coalition is sponsored by Lyft and Uber and includes the Vancouver Board of Trade, B.C. Business Council, Vancouver Economic Commission, B.C. Chamber of Commerce, Urban Development Institute, Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Finger Food Studios and the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association.

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Alaska Highway News: Business organizations ask BC premier to reconsider pipeline actions

EXCERPT:

A group of business organizations in B.C. has banded together to send a message to Premier John Horgan: additional delays to the Trans Mountain expansion project “is clearly not in the best interests of British Columbia or Canada.” 

The open letter, accessible by clicking here, was sent to Horgan by five key B.C. business organizations: the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, the Business Council of British Columbia, and the B.C. Chamber of Commerce.

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CTV News: BC government throne speech put focus on housing, child care

EXCERPT:

Five B.C. organizations, representing an array of businesses, issued an open letter to Horgan on Tuesday expressing their “deep concern” about the government's opposition to the pipeline.

“Failing to respect the rule of law and the largely federal jurisdiction over this project is not only deeply unfair to the stakeholders who respected the process, but also represents a fundamental departure from what it means for B.C. to be part of Canada,” the letter says.

It was signed by the leaders of the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, the Business Council of British Columbia, and the BC Chamber of Commerce.

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The Voice: Business Organizations ask BC Premier to reconsider pipeline actions

EXCERPT:

"We urge you and your government to stop its opposition to this approved project before we do further damage to the province’s reputation as one that is open for business or, worse, causes a provincial trade war that inflicts lasting damage on the relationship between BC and Alberta. It’s now time to put shovels in the ground."

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Business in Vancouver: Alberta - BC Trade War Needs Trudeau Peacekeeping Mission

Excerpt:

“In 2013, B.C. exported an estimated $16.6 billion worth of goods and services to Alberta. Of that, $7.2 billion was in the form of goods; the rest was in things like professional services.

“The value of the goods exported to Alberta exceeded B.C. exports to China in 2013 ($6.6 billion), according to the Business Council of BC."

Read story in Business in Vancouver

Also featured in: 

Richmond Review

Prince George Citizen

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Business in Vancouver: Throne Speech Signals Spending Spree

Greg D’Avignon, CEO of the Business Council of British Columbia, said many of the priorities in the throne speech are also priorities for business, since affordability is important to attracting and retaining workers.

But Tuesday’s Throne speech focused primarily on spending, and had little to say about wealth generation.

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Vancouver Sun: Friends with (economic) benefits: How BC and Alberta profit from each other

Excerpt:

Alberta accounted for $21.4 billion in imports and exports through the Port of Vancouver in 2016, which delivered considerable benefits for both provinces. Alberta’s 2016 exports to China, Japan and the rest of Asia totalled $5.7 billion alone, the Business Council of B.C. reported last summer....

Both provinces sell the majority of their exports to the United States, but as inter-provincial trading partners, B.C. and Alberta are bigger customers for each other than China is for either. In a 2017 report, the Business Council of B.C. characterized their economies as arguably the most interdependent among any two provinces in Canada.

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