Return to all BCBC in the News
Published opinion pieces by BCBC staff are available here

BCBC In The News

Troy Media: Vancouver needs to add head offices

[Excerpt] The Business Council of British Columbia (BCBC) is taking positive steps to attract Asian corporations to locate their head offices in the Vancouver area. The Council is providing funding and in-kind support valued at $1,221,000 - the Federal Government, through Western Economic Diversification Canada, is providing funding of $1,951,750 and the Provincial Ministry of International Trade is providing both funding and in-kind support valued at $3,385,250 - into its HQ Vancouver campaign, which was launched last February. This initiative puts Vancouver in competition with other cities around the world that are competing to get these and other firms and the benefits that come with them.

View Story

Business in Vancouver: India's sleeping economic tiger will take time to awaken

[Excerpt] But while B.C. business leaders and economists say India’s economic growth potential is impressive, it’s no China, and the growth of business opportunities in India will grow at a much slower pace.

“India is more about the future than the present,” said Jock Finlayson, executive vice-president and chief policy officer for the Business Council of British Columbia. “I think there is a potential and it’s a huge market. I think commerce with India will grow, but it’s going to grow slowly.

View Story

Kamloops This Week: Seniors set to dominate population

The city and region need to gear up for a decline in population growth, as well as a future in which the area has one adult over 65 for every two adults in the workforce.

A report from B.C. Business Council released this week found the province’s population increase is slowing from robust growth of the 1980s and 1990s. The report details a slowing in population growth that reached 2.6 per cent a year in the early 1990s to less than one per cent today.


Author Ken Peacock said Kamloops shares some urban aspects with those core areas and can expect to attract northerners looking for warmer climes, as well as Greater Vancouver residents seeking lower housing prices and an end to gridlock commutes.

View Story

Vancouver Sun, Editorial: Strong Alberta remains crucial to Western Canada

[Excerpt] An NDP government is bound to create a degree of uncertainty for business in Alberta, with a watering down anticipated of the so-called “Alberta Advantage.” Notley has pledged to raise provincial corporate taxes to 12 per cent, the same level as in B.C., and introduce a more progressive system of income taxes that would increase the revenue take from top earners.

An NDP government also is expected to review royalty rates for energy companies, strengthen environmental protections and encourage more refinery capacity in the province.

All this, says Business Council of B.C. president and CEO Greg D’Avignon, will probably result in more capital investment and workers coming to B.C. which would increase this province’s labour pool, reducing labour costs.

View Story

Business in Vancouver: What does Alberta's orange crush mean for BC?

[Excerpt] Greg D’Avignon, president and CEO of the Business Council of British Columbia, is concerned that Notley’s promise to raise corporate income tax as well as taxes on high income earners will dampen Alberta’s already-shaky economy.

"Companies, when they make investment decisions, look at a myriad of things and corporate tax is one of them,” he said.

“When you’re bringing in top talent and their job is to create wealth, [higher income taxes] can be a headwind against attracting that talent.”

View Story

Vancouver Sun: Get ready for an older population: report

If you’re a senior looking for a great place to play endless rounds of golf or games of bridge through your golden years, then the Okanagan Valley’s the place to be.

But if you’re a young parent and want a place where your kids will have plenty of friends and outdoor pursuits, you may choose to head up the Sea to Sky Highway to Squamish.

Those are two of the conclusions in a Business Council of B.C. report that found, among other things, that B.C.’s population growth has not only slowed, averaging 0.9 per cent annually, but that the number of people aged 65 and over is growing at four times the rate of the number of working-aged people (25 to 64), “an extraordinary and unprecedented development,” the study said.

View Story

Business in Vancouver: Role reversal? China's F-Pacific expands manufacturing, headquarters to Vancouver

[Excerpt] HQ Vancouver — a joint initiative between Ottawa, Victoria and the Business Council of B.C. (BCBC) aimed at luring Asian companies to Vancouver — worked with CFONSG to bring F-Pacific’s new regional office to the West Coast.

This marks the first time since HQ Vancouver’s creation in February that the organization has drawn a company from Asia to Vancouver.

Conservative MP for Richmond Alice Wong, Minister of State for Seniors, said at the announcement that F-Pacific’s decision to move to Vancouver reflects the strengths of the HQ Vancouver initiative.

Over the next three years, Victoria is contributing $3.4 million to HQ Vancouver, while Ottawa is contributing $1.9 million and the BCBC is providing $1.2 million in funding and in-kind support.

View Story

Vancouver Sun: Chinese fibre-optic firm to open North American head office in Vancouver

[Excerpt] Yuen Pau Woo, president of HQ Vancouver, called securing the F-Pacific investment a major win, which gives the province a manufacturing foothold in an emerging sector as China Fiber Optic seeks to expand its sales in North America.

HQ Vancouver is a public-private effort funded by the Canadian and B.C. Governments, along with the Business Council of B.C., to encourage medium-to-large sized Asian corporations to establish North American head offices in B.C.

View Story

Vancouver Sun: Chinese Manufacturer sets up BC plant for fibre-optic components

[Excerpt] The deal to bring F-Pacific to B.C. was two years in the making, and for the recently formed HQ Vancouver initiative aimed at attracting more Asia-based businesses to the province it represents an early success.

“The short-term significance is the establishment of a real facility that will employ hundreds of people and produce hundreds of millions of dollars of exports,” said Vancouver HQ president Yuen Pau Woo, formerly CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada.

“That’s not trivial at all in a time when global economic conditions are tough,” Woo said, but the longer term significance is in F-Pacific’s ambitions to expand in North America.

While North America has a lot of fibre-optic trunk networks, Woo said the continent remains relatively under-served when it comes to fibre-optic connections directly to households.

“If (F-Pacific) can penetrate the North American market working with Telus, Rogers, Bell and Sprint, and all the other suppliers, imagine the kind of expansion we could see in North America.”

For Woo, who heads an initiative funded by Canada, B.C. and the Business Council of B.C., F-Pacific is something of a beacon for other Asian companies evaluating this province as a viable beachhead for North American operations.

“Location, business environment, IP protection, political stability, skilled labour force — we’ve got it all,” Woo said. “And if it’s true for F-Pacific, it’s true for other companies that want to locate here.”

View Story

Journal of Commerce: Experts predict growth at inaugural outlook seminar

[Excerpt] Ken Peacock, the chief economist and vice president of the Business Council of British Columbia, began by calling the world economy a "serial disappointment."

He said the U.S. is gaining momentum, which will help Canada and British Columbia, but questioned if this would continue.

Peacock said the Eurozone is barely growing, Japan is faltering and China is decelerating, which may affect the province.

He noted that B.C. has huge potential with billions of dollars in proposed energy projects – the only catch is getting them past the finish line.

View Story

Vancouver Sun, Barbara Yaffe: BC's export base remains heavily dependent on resources

The value of B.C.’s merchandise exports is at an all-time high, but the province cannot keep counting on the meteoric growth it has recently experienced in its trade with China.

Since 2004, goods exports to China have grown by ”an astonishing 420 per cent,” notes Ken Peacock, chief economist at the Business Council of B.C.

As of last year, the province was shipping 40 per cent of its exports to Pacific Rim countries, up from 25 per cent a decade ago. But that party may be over.

In a new report on B.C. trade, Peacock is predicting that “strong growth in exports to China will not go on indefinitely and ... are more likely to expand at a more subdued pace as that economy transitions toward more domestic consumption rather than export-led growth.”

That does not mean, however, that trade volumes overall are about to stagnate in B.C.

View Story

Saanich News: Victoria MP sees little help for families in federal budget

[Excerpt] Business Council of B.C. president Greg D’Avignon said balancing the national budget, investing in transit and providing investment incentives for industries such as liquefied natural gas and forestry will help offset the effects of a slump in oil prices and weak commodity markets.

View Story

The Hill Times: Ministers, PM target Vancouver, Winnipeg, Kitchener in post-budget tour: all about holding seats, say strategists

[Excerpt] So far, the highest concentration of budget announcements has been in the greater Vancouver area. National Revenue Minister Kerry Lynne Findlay (Delta-Richmond East, B.C.) went to Vancouver, Surrey and Delta on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to highlight the budget, and Industry Minister James Moore (Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam, B.C.) delivered a speech on Wednesday to the Business Council of British Columbia. 

View Story

Vancouver Sun, Editorial: Fast-growing India offers opportunities for B.C.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the Lower Mainland last week drew attention to potential benefits from stronger links between B.C. and the world’s fastest-growing major economy.

India’s GDP grew by 7.2 per cent last year. This year the developing democracy, with an expanding middle class and vast population of young people, is expected to expand 7.5 per cent, surpassing that of China.

Yet a new report from the Business Council of B.C. reveals only 1.6 per cent of this province’s merchandise exports go to India (mainly copper, coal, wood pulp and newsprint).

By comparison, the Chinese market accounts for 18 per cent of our goods exports, and Japan 10.2 per cent.

View Story

Journal of Commerce Blog: Ken Peacock of the Business Council of British Columbia at the ICBA Industry Outlook

Ken Peacock, the chief economist and vice president of the Business Council of British Columbia addressed an audience of industry leaders at the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA) Industry Outlook held April 23 in Burnaby, British Columbia.

Peacock began by calling the world economy a "serial disappointment." The United States is gaining momentum, which will help Canada and British Columbia, but questioned if this would continue.

Peacock said the Eurozone is barely growing, Japan is faltering, and China is decelerating, which may affect British Columbia.

The big macro-economic variables are low interest rates and the exchange rate. The exchange rate is good for exports, but not great for consumers, who will feel the cross-border pinch.

But the depreciating exchange rate does improve Canada's competitiveness, though "it's not a long term strategy," Peacock said. 

View Story

Vancouver Sun, Editorial: Tory budget disappoints on infrastructure

The Harper government’s budget, tabled on Tuesday, bypassed crucial infrastructure needs of cities like Vancouver in favour of putting cash quickly and directly into the hands of targeted groups of voters in an election year.

The government did not have much room to manoeuvre, balancing its budget with a relatively modest $1.4-billion surplus for contingencies.

View Story

The Canadian Press (News 1130): B.C. will get infrastructure cash despite vote outcome in Metro Vancouver: feds

Industry Minister James Moore says British Columbia will get its fair share of federal infrastructure funding regardless of the outcome of a Metro Vancouver transit tax vote.

Speaking to a gathering of business leaders, Moore said the federal government would provide the province with promised investment dollars whether or not voters approve the historic transit plebiscite.

A proposed $7.5-billion public transportation overhaul over 10 years would include projects such as an upgraded rapid-transit system, a new bridge and additional buses.

“We know that our cities are getting more dense and more congested,” said Moore, who was in Vancouver for a meeting with members of the B.C. Business Council.

View Story

Peace Arch News: B.C. endorses Ottawa's balanced budget

[Excerpt]  Business Council of B.C. president Greg D'Avignon said balancing the national budget, investing in transit and providing investment incentives for industries such as liquefied natural gas and forestry will help offset the effects of a slump in oil prices and weak commodity markets.

View Story

Business in Vancouver: Lower Taxes for small business? Bad idea, say economists

[Excerpt] Lowering the rate further is only going to increase the already wide tax gap between small and larger companies, said Jock Finlayson, chief policy officer with the Business Council of British Columbia.

Dropping the tax rate to 9% will mean small businesses in B.C. will pay a combined federal and provincial tax of just 11.5%, compared to the 26% larger businesses pay.

That provides an incentive for businesses to stay under the $500,000 profit threshold, and that’s bad for Canada’s overall economy, argued Finlayson.

“Our problem is not that we have enough small companies. Our problem is that we’re drowning in them,” Finlayson said. “Large companies drive most of the exports, they do most of the R&D, they pay their workers higher wages and benefits.”

View Story

Vancouver Sun: B.C. cities, businesses lobby for more funding in advance of budget announcement

[Excerpt]  And Jock Finlayson, head of the B.C. Business Council, said Monday his organization would prefer more spending on bricks and mortar even if it means the country stays in the red for an extra year.

“Record-low interest rates and borrowing costs make now an excellent time for the national government to increase spending on infrastructure development,” said Finlayson, the council’s executive vice-president and chief policy officer.

Key B.C. priorities include proposed new rapid transit lines in the Lower Mainland and an upgraded Trans-Canada Highway, according to Finlayson.

He also said most in the B.C. business community would likely be happy if the government delayed balancing the budget for a year in order to inject several billion into infrastructure.

“Generally the business community supports balanced budgets,” he told The Vancouver Sun. “But in the current environment of very slow economic growth and tepid job growth there is a risk that contractionary fiscal policy at the national government level could impart additional weakness to an already sluggish Canadian economy.”

Finlayson said B.C. corporate leaders would also like to see Ottawa “step up its profile and commitment to collaborative engagement and capacity-building with Aboriginal communities in the province.”

View Story