BCBC In The News
Prince George Citizen: Dumping daylight time a low priority for premier and businesses
Of all the issues facing businesses, getting rid of daylight time doesn't come up in boardroom discussions about how to improve Canada's economy, says the president of the Business Council of British Columbia.
Greg D'Avignon said Friday businesses spend little time considering the pros and cons of moving clocks backwards and forwards by one hour in the fall and spring.
"It's not even in the same constellation of issues that are of concern to businesses at this point," he said. "I talk to a great many business leaders that are international, national and local and the barrier caused by daylight savings time is the least of the concerns around how we can become more efficient as a country."
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Black Press: Keep secret ballot votes for union certification, B.C. panel says
The B.C. Business Council identified three labour market trends: a shift from stable employment to more precarious work and self-employment, an increasing income gap between skilled and non-skilled workers and a declining quality of jobs with more being part-time.
The Star Vancouver: Report shows B.C. consumer spending has dropped, while interest rates have risen
Most of the “significant” changes are in the domestic economy where growth is expected to shift away from sectors that have “feasted on unusually cheap and readily accessible credit since the late-2000s” such as new residential construction, renovations and real estate transfer costs, the report stated.
It’s a consequence of the increasing interest rates issued by the Bank of Canada this year, said Ken Peacock, chief economist at BCBC and co-author of the quarterly report.
“A lot of people are highly leveraged because housing is so expensive, and they may have bought a home in the past two, or three, or four years, and now they’re facing interest rate increases and people are going to have to renew their mortgages at some point,” he said in an interview.
“So if you’re squeezed and highly leveraged, these interest rate increases that have already shown up in 18 months or so, they have an impact.”
Business in Vancouver: LNG Canada go-ahead boosts B.C. growth forecast to 2.5%: business council
The official go-ahead for the $40-billion LNG Canada project in northwestern B.C. is poised to give the provincial economy a sizeable boost in the coming year.
The final investment decision announced weeks ago has prompted economists at the Business Council of B.C. (BCBC) to raise their provincial growth forecast from 2.3% to 2.5% for 2019, according to its third-quarter outlook released on October 25.
Global economic growth, greater certainty resulting from the signing of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement and B.C.’s strong job market have also positioned the province “near the top of the provincial growth rankings.”
Business in Vancouver: Moving Cascadia corridor from vision to reality
But Greg D’Avignon sees the latest initiative, which began in earnest again two years ago at the first annual Cascadia Innovation Corridor Conference in Vancouver, differently now.
“I would have said last year that people thought this was an interesting idea but didn’t really know what it was going to be,” said the CEO of the Business Council of BC (BCBC), whose organization has been among those spearheading recent initiatives to bolster economic and academic links between Vancouver and Seattle.
“Cascadia’s been a noun and now it’s a verb.”
Seattle Times: Cascadia Innovation Corridor: From vision to reality
From revolutionizing our region’s transportation connections, making sure it remains an attractive place to live, expanding and diversifying the STEM pipeline here and identifying groundbreaking treatments for cancer, the newly formed steering committee has a lot on their plate, but they don’t see all these changes being easy, or even happening soon. And, they say, the payoff will benefit more than just our region.
“We have a vision for the Cascadia Innovation Corridor that stretches beyond the next few years,” says D’Avignon. “We’re building a sustainable innovation zone that equips the corridor for long-term economic opportunity that will also help create solutions for some of the world’s toughest challenges."
Globe and Mail: LNG Canada project forces B.C. to find new ways to meet climate targets
Greg D’Avignon, president of the Business Council of B.C., said Tuesday that the decision by LNG Canada’s partners to move ahead with the project is a positive signal for the investment climate in the province, and provides a guideline for a low-carbon economy that can thrive with the right fiscal policies from government and strong support from Indigenous communities.
Mr. D’Avignon said B.C.'s large supply of renewable energy – mostly hydroelectricity – needs to be harnessed to help other energy-intensive sectors such as forestry and mining reduce their carbon footprint. “We’ve got the opportunity, as with LNG Canada, to be a global climate solution provider,” he said.
Business in Vancouver Editorial: Canadian capital investment alert
Capital investment is critical to business competitiveness; it is also fundamental to improving labour productivity, another area in which Canada, as the Business Council of British Columbia has noted, is lagging behind its global marketplace competitors.
Globe and Mail: B.C.’s climate targets will be impossible to reach if LNG Canada project goes ahead, critics say
Jock Finlayson, chief policy officer at the Business Council of British Columbia, said his group’s members support the province’s fledgling LNG sector, and the NDP government needs to tread carefully in supporting LNG Canada while addressing climate goals. “We are keen on seeing LNG move ahead, but we’re also very sensitive to the costs of doing business for all the other industries here,” he said in an interview. “The province will have to decide how to balance competing objectives.”
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Q&A | Jock Finlayson, Business Council of BC executive vice-president and chief policy officer, says Canadian policies helping turn boom to bust
Business in Vancouver: Trans Mountain decision threatens to spook investors
But Greg D’Avignon, CEO of the Business Council of BC, said the courts’ involvement in the process has been a flashpoint for frustration for businesses and investors.
“It’s unfair to ask businesses to enter into a process and to invest capital and time and their reputation, knowing full well that today that process is unclear. You don’t know how much it’s going to cost, how long it’s going to take or whether or not when you follow the rules you’ll actually get a decision,” D’Avignon said.
“We’re seeing, in real time, capital decide not to place itself in Canada and British Columbia, and go elsewhere because there’s more clarity and more certainty [in other jurisdictions].”
Globe and Mail, Margaret Wente: The Trans Mountain ruling was a fiasco
As Greg D’Avignon, president of the Business Council of British Columbia said the other day in a tweet, “We cannot govern a country, meaningfully reconcile with First Nations or build the economy through the courts. ”
PODCAST: BIV Today
Ken Peacock joins podcast BIV Today to discuss B.C.’s tax competitiveness problem.
Vancouver Sun: Housing revenues help balance B.C. budget again, but downturn looms
“Obviously we’re coming off the boil from the housing real estate boom,” said Jock Finlayson, executive vice-president for the Business Council of B.C.
“That’s clearly an area where the slowdown is very much in evidence in the Lower Mainland, and to some extent in the province, in sales activity. It’s going to pinch the government’s revenues for sure. Some of that I think they factored in their budget in February. The question is whether what’s happening now is a bigger downtown than what was predicted in the budget.”
The Star Vancouver: Economic slowdown expected for the next four years in B.C.
In the past, the Business Council of British Columbia has found that B.C.’s economy is heavily reliant on the selling and building of real estate, which has driven more than a third of all economic growth in B.C. over the past four years.
Business in Vancouver Editorial: Canada’s counterproductivity problem
Add this atop Canada’s to-do list: improve productivity.
It’s fundamental to the country’s ability to raise its wages and standard of living. However, a recent Business Council of British Columbia (BCBC) Policy Perspectives delves deep into the arithmetic of productivity, and the math is not adding up in Canada’s favour.
Realities of productivity slippage and its subsequent impact on economic growth and standards of living need to be aired now because current and future generations are becoming increasingly disconnected from the realities of where and how wealth is generated. The BCBC notes that, after its sustained labour productivity gains in the 1947-73 postwar era, Canada has been mired in an extended subpar productivity slump, and its standard of living has consequently stagnated.
Victoria News: B.C. NDP prepares to move on labour, employment standards
B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains says he’s proceeding carefully with changes to labour and employment standards legislation, as businesses raise concerns that employers are burdened enough by NDP government actions.
Bains is awaiting a report from a panel he appointed to review the Labour Code, expected by the end of August. Unions advised the panel they want certifications done by signing up a majority of members, ending secret ballot votes brought in by the previous government.
“It’s a sensitive area for most contractors as well as employers, because contractors often want to be contractors and don’t want to get classified as employees for tax purposes,” said Ken Peacock, chief economist at Business Council of B.C.
Langley Times: B.C. mineral exploration permits taking longer: survey
Business Council of B.C. president Greg D’Avignon called the report “a solution looking for a problem that confuses regulatory capacity in government with the role of qualified professionals who design projects and conduct environmental surveys.”
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Vancouver Courier: Film industry worth $3.4b to provincial economy, says Creative BC
Meanwhile, Ken Peacock, chief economist for the Business Council of B.C., told BIV Today last week he expects the B.C. film industry to be one of the most consistent performers for the provincial economy for the next few years.
Creative BC’s data showed that foreign productions nearly doubled the output from B.C.-based creators: 289 vs. 163.
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The Squamish Chief: Province wraps up review of natural resource project regulation system
But the Business Council of British Columbia has significant concerns with the report’s recommendations.
“This report suggests the provincial government does not trust qualified professionals to do their job at the appropriate standard. As such, it may place a chill on BC’s ability to attract and retain these professionals in the future,” Greg D’Avignon, president, and CEO of the Business Council, said in the statement.
“At this point, the most sensible thing the government can do is shelve the report.”