BCBC in 2017: Advancing Ideas and Actions....
In the final days of 2017, we’ve taken a moment to review the 119 publications, submissions to government, opinion editorials and blogs produced by the team at the Business Council of British Columbia. In addition to highlighting our major works, we’ve put together a compilation which revisits the most popular pieces and provides an overview of the range of issues that have garnered attention this year.
Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: How government can help build bigger businesses in B.C. (Business in Vancouver)
To build a more prosperous economy, new businesses have to be created and some existing firms must grow. The business world is characterized by a high degree of “churn,” with many new entrants together with lots of exits and diverse patterns of expansion and contraction among the pool of surviving companies. Many new firms don’t have a long shelf life. About half close their doors within five years. Of those that hit the five-year mark, most never reach the 50-employee level.
But those that do grow swiftly tend to make disproportionate contributions to our economy. This is partly because as businesses expand, they become more productive – and therefore, on average, pay higher wages. In addition, as firms grow, they are more likely to export and to take advantage of the economies of scale that come from doing business beyond local markets.
From Good to Great: The Benefits of Scaling Up BC Business
To build a more prosperous and innovative economy, new businesses have to be created and some existing firms must grow.
Immigration in BC: A Complex Tapestry
Immigration remains a key element in building a skilled workforce in BC and will play an even more significant role in the coming decade as the ranks of retiring baby boomers swell.
Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: B.C. needs to do a better job of attracting high-skill immigrants (Business in Vancouver)
Immigration continues to reshape the demographic landscape in British Columbia.
Every year, between 35,000 and 40,000 new immigrants arrive in the province. Currently, more than one-quarter of the province’s population is foreign-born. Most immigrants settle in urban centres, so 41% of Metro Vancouver’s residents were born in another country. Given relatively low birth rates and the aging of the population, these proportions are expected to rise over the coming decades.
BC2035 is about creating a shared vision of BC’s future and laying down a pathway to realize that vision. It is about initiating conversations, fostering greater collaboration and getting politicians, policy makers, First Nations leaders, and business leaders to think about, prepare for and act on the future.
Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: Retooled U.S. tax regime could erode Canada’s competitive advantage (Business in Vancouver)
As U.S. President Donald Trump settles into office and the Republican-controlled Congress begins work on its legislative agenda, it is clear that sweeping changes are in store for U.S. policies in several areas. Overall, the direction of change is likely to pose some significant economic challenges for Canada.
A Tale of Two Economies: Leveraging Regional Immigration Strategies to Enhance Growth
The vast majority of new immigrants in BC choose to live in the already capacity-stretched Lower Mainland area. Most other B.C. towns and almost all rural areas attract comparatively few newcomers.
Finlayson Op-Ed: Economic silver linings for Canada in the Trump cloud (Troy Media)
Donald Trump’s surprise victory in the Presidential election, coupled with continued Republican control of both branches of the U.S. Congress, heralds significant changes in American policy in the domains of trade, immigration, foreign affairs, energy and taxation, among other areas. Many Canadians are understandably uneasy about the direction America may take under new leadership. At a minimum, Mr. Trump’s political ascendancy injects added stress and uncertainty into an already fragile and unsettled world.
Peacock Op-Ed: Looking to B.C. Budget 2017 — Strengthening B.C.’s Competitive Position (Surrey Business News)
B.C.’s economy is in reasonably good shape and the province looks to be on track to lead the country in economic and job growth this year and likely next year as well. This relatively buoyant economic backdrop is boosting B.C. government revenues and providing the province with some fiscal room. The recently released First Quarterly Report shows the B.C .government with a $2 billion surplus in 2016-17, thanks mostly to upside revenue surprises from personal income taxes and the property transfer tax.
While all this is good news, the fact is that British Columbia’s competitiveness within North America has eroded over the past several years. The extent of the problem varies across sectors and industries. But companies operating on the land base, manufacturers, and industries that rely significantly on energy to run their operations face mounting difficulties stemming from complex First Nations claims, onerous permitting and environmental rules, and high and still rising tax-inclusive energy costs. Across the province, the forestry, mining, and oil and gas industries are at the forefront of these challenges. Closer to home, in Surrey the agriculture industry and local manufacturers (lumber mills, parts of food processing, industrial equipment, high-tech) are all also challenged by B.C.’s deteriorating competitive position.
The Trump Presidency: Three Possible Silver Linings for Canada
For British Columbia and Canada generally, there are economic downsides and upsides from the new political order that’s about to take shape in Washington, D.C.
5 Points of Interest about BC’s Labour Market
The BC job market is very healthy and employment is growing at a robust pace. Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey shows that between September and October of this year BC gained another ~15,000 jobs, further underscoring the fact that BC stands out in the federation on most key labour market metrics.
New Regional Effort Aims to Establish Cascadia Innovation Corridor
British Columbia and Washington leaders come together to strengthen collaboration, create cross-border opportunity
SUBMISSON: BCBC Input to the Federal Government's 2016 Immigration Consultation Process
The Business Council's input to the Federal Government's 2016 Immigration Consultation Process made via the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.
Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: Business input vital to immigration system’s economic success (Business in Vancouver)
There are currently 4.7 million people living in B.C. Over the past 20 years, our population has risen by 908,000. Back in 1995, the population was growing at an annual rate of 2.8%, based on strong net interprovincial migration, international migration, and a relatively high rate of natural increase (births minus deaths). Now, the population is increasing by 1% annually, which is higher than the Canadian average but slower than in decades past.
In the next 20 years, our population is projected to expand by 1.14 million. Natural population growth dwindles after 2015 and approaches zero by 2030. At that point, B.C.’s population will be rising solely due to net in-migration from other provinces and countries. Of the two sources of in-migrants, international immigration will have a bigger role in determining B.C.’s demographic and economic future. Thus, it is more important than ever that immigration policy is aligned with our economic needs. Unfortunately, based on some initial actions by the Justin Trudeau government, it appears that economic considerations will carry less weight in immigration decisions.
Immigration and Economic Growth
The influx of new immigrants (+86,216) was the primary driver of population growth in the first quarter of 2016. Syrian refugees comprised a large proportion of the incoming immigrant flow. Notably, Canada has never before admitted as many immigrants within a single quarter.
Population Growth Varies Widely Across BC
In recent years BC’s population has expanded roughly in line with national population growth. Between 2011 and 2015 the number of BC residents rose at an average annual pace of 1.0%, essentially the same as Canada. Alberta led the way, with the number of people living in that province surging at an average rate of 2.6% over the past four years. Population growth in Saskatchewan (1.5%) and Manitoba (1.2%) also outpaced BC. Population growth rates in BC and Ontario have been virtually identical.
Net In-migration to BC Picks Up in Q3…While Alberta Goes the Other Way
Migration across Canada tends to exhibit strong seasonal patterns, so to compare the movement of people over time the data can be seasonally adjusted or one can simply compare the third quarter data to third quarter flows from past years. Looking just at the 2015 third quarter data highlights the most recent increase, with BC gaining a net inflow of 6,315 people from other provinces. In comparison, in the third quarter of 2014 BC recorded a gain of about 3,600 interprovincial; back in 2013 we added 1,800.
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.”
BC Net Interprovincial Migration Trending Higher
In the second quarter of2015 BC saw a net inflow of nearly 4,000 people moving here from other Canada jurisdictions. While this figure is down from the 5000+ net inflow in Q2 of 2014, it is up significantly from the 2012-2013 era.