News Releases and Op-Eds
Finlayson & Peacock: High-wage aspirations demand better productivity fundamentals (Business in Vancouver)
A rising statutory minimum wage can be viewed as a policy intervention that seeks to nudge higher the share of total income that accrues to labour rather than to owners of capital, with a particular focus on lower-paid workers. But it comes at a cost.
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.
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.
RELEASE: BCBC Budget Commentary September 2017
The Business Council of British Columbia offered a mixed assessment to today’s provincial budget update presented by Finance Minister Carole James.
D'Avignon Op-ed: B.C. is risking its prosperity by turning off investors (Vancouver Sun & Saskatoon Star Phoenix)
Over a month ago, B.C. declared a state of emergency, marking the start of one of the worst wildfire seasons on record. In response, British Columbians came together and have continued to respond to the crisis with donations of time, goods, shelter and cash for those affected. The uncertainty and stress people and communities face is, in part, being abated by the support from all British Columbians. However, as I watch the nightly news, I have found myself asking why does it take a crisis before we feel the need to assist our neighbours and communities?
We face a similar reality in our economy.
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.
Finlayson Op-Ed: The Prohibitive Cost of Living in Metro Vancouver (Troy Media, Canadian Investor Magazine & Business in Vancouver)
How can people afford to live in Vancouver? That question came to mind as I struggled to catch up with the latest torrent of media stories on the lower mainland’s seemingly inexhaustible housing boom. Of course, Metro Vancouver has long been the most expensive place in the country to purchase (or rent) a home. Indeed, relative to the incomes of area residents, it ranks among the priciest markets in the world.
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.
Finlayson: BC must develop a stronger corporate head office presence (Troy Media)
Success on growing more locally-based companies and attracting firms from elsewhere would produce sizable economic dividends for the province.
BCBC Statement on New BC Government
The Business Council of British Columbia congratulates Premier John Horgan and his cabinet colleagues on being sworn in as British Columbia's new Government.
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.
Statement from BCBC regarding the Federal Government's Principles respecting Canada's relationship with Indigenous peoples
On Friday, July 14, the Business Council of British Columbia released the following statement on behalf of Greg D'Avignon, President and Chief Executive Officer, in response to the federal government's announced principles respecting Canada's relationship with Indigenous peoples:
Statement from the Business Council of British Columbia on the designation of John Horgan as the incoming Premier of British Columbia
Today, the Business Council of British Columbia released the following statement from President and CEO, Greg D'Avignon
BCBC Welcomes Leadership That Accelerates Reconciliation and Creates Business Certainty in Landmark 30-Year Agreement Between YVR And Musqueam First Nation
The Business Council of British Columbia congratulates the Musqueam First Nation and the Vancouver International Airport (YVR) for achieving a landmark 30-year agreement, and recognizes their leadership in creating a new, long term partnership for transportation, jobs and meaningful inclusion in BC’s economy.
Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: B.C. still booming despite world's new slow-growth reality (Business in Vancouver)
In the wake of the 2008-09 Great Recession, global economic growth has downshifted. Indeed, for many economists, it has become increasingly clear that we have transitioned to a slower-growth world.
Hampered by aging workforces, persistently low levels of business investment and widespread policy and political uncertainty, the advanced economies in particular face diminished prospects. At the same time, business leaders and policy-makers are struggling with new risks amid a backlash against globalization and trade. Despite all of these challenges, with little fanfare British Columbia has been enjoying what can only be described as an economic boom.
Finlayson & St. Laurent Op-Ed: A Tale of Two Economies: Leveraging Regional Immigration to Enhance Growth (PeopleTalk Spring 2017)
Two factors will largely determine the future trajectory of economic growth in British Columbia: productivity performance, and the extent to which the labour force expands over time. The hurdles to achieving long-term economic growth include an aging population, a low natural birth rate, and intense global competition for talent and capital.
Urbanization Feeds Divergence
The outlook for economic growth across B.C. is not uniform. In fact, ongoing urbanization and regional gaps in economic opportunity are feeding into a story of two increasingly diverging economies in the province.
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.
Finlayson Op-Ed: Canada's investment recession drags on (Troy Media and Times Colonist)
While Canada’s economy continues to grind out positive if unspectacular gains in employment and gross domestic product (GDP), below the surface the picture is less encouraging.
For several years, our economy has basically been kept afloat by freespending consumers and overheated real estate markets. Throughout this period, export growth has been meagre and investment outside of the housing sector has been missing in action.
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.
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.