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The Globe and Mail: B.C. NDP’s first budget begins remake of province but puts off most expensive promises

[Excerpt] Jock Finlayson, chief policy officer for the Business Council of B.C., applauded the NDP's cautious economic forecasting.

"Overall, the fiscal framework is reasonable," said Mr. Finlayson, who acknowledged the government's approach will mean more spending and could eventually lead to deficits.

"This government is committed to a more activist approach."

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BIV on Roundhouse August 25: Trump keeps NAFTA talks lively

The Business Council of B.C.’s chief policy officer, Jock Finlayson, discusses Canada’s sub-par trade performance. [14:30]

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Vancouver Sun: B.C. government posts massive but likely unsustainable surplus

[Excerpt] “This surplus could disappear almost in the blink of an eye,” said Jock Finlayson, executive vice-president of the B.C. Business Council. “The economy will probably slow, not because of the government but because it’s growing over potential.”


“Some of this revenue strength is reflecting non-sustainable surges in particular revenue line items. Obviously prior year tax adjustments are one-offs and I agree the higher property transfer tax revenue is not something we can bank on going forward,” said Finlayson.

“This $2.7 billion operating surplus on a $50 billion budget is good news but could disappear very quickly. And my prediction is it will. This is sort of the high water mark from a surplus point of view and we do expect the economy to slow down, not to go into recession or anything but growth will cool off a bit. And housing will slow as mortgage rates rise and perhaps other actions are taken to deal with speculation.”

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Business in Vancouver: Industry leaders tackle corporate culture gap

[Excerpt] Greg D’Avignon, president and CEO of the Business Council of British Columbia, also heads HQ Vancouver, a joint federal-provincial initiative to draw more overseas companies to set up regional headquarters in B.C. He said the difficulty isn’t isolated to the Chinese, noting that firms from other Asian markets also struggle to set down roots in the Lower Mainland. While Vancouver is the destination of many new immigrants who, after a short period of stay, want to bring their businesses to the city, the reality is that most do not enter the city with a business in mind and therefore may not be ready to jump in.

“We have a lot of people in the East and South Asian communities here in Vancouver, but much of the population here had moved with their families and aren’t investing capital or expanding businesses into the marketplace,” D’Avignon said. “There’s lots of untapped opportunity to put B.C. and Vancouver onto people’s lists of where to do business.… We are proud of ourselves as Vancouverites, but other people know very little about us – and that’s an important context.”

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BIV on Roundhouse July 28: Will the NDP government be business-friendly?

On the latest show, the Business Council of B.C.’s chief policy officer Jock Finlayson shares some policy advice for B.C.’s new GreeNDP alliance. [00:40] 

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Times Colonist: Impact of new NDP government on businesses, workers unclear

[Excerpt] Premier John Horgan, who was sworn in Tuesday, and B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver have promised to stop Kinder Morgan’s $7.4-billion pipeline expansion and ask the province’s Utilities Commission to review B.C. Hydro’s $9-billion Site C dam project.

Greg D’Avignon, president of the Business Council of B.C., said the uncertainty around those projects could shake investor confidence.

D’Avignon said he has had conversations with members and international firms whose concerns “are no longer about a dam and a pipeline. They’re actually about whether people want to invest in B.C.”

He said investment creates jobs, which generate government revenue that pays for the social programs Horgan and Weaver have been touting, such as $10-a-day child care.

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BIV podcast (No. 73): Can B.C.'s housing sector handle a rate hike?

The Bank of Canada has finally handed down its long-awaited rate hike — so what does this mean for the economy?

Ken Peacock, chief economist at the Business Council of B.C., talks to hosts Tyler Orton and Hayley Woodin about what we can expect from everything from mortgage rates to exports. 

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Fairchild TV: Jock Finlayson on upcoming NAFTA renegotiation

Jock Finlayson, Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer, speaks with Fairchild TV reporter Nicole Ho about the recently released goals released by the United States in advance of the NAFTA renegotiation and potential impacts for the BC economy.

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BIV on Roundhouse Radio: Ken Peacock

On the show, Ken Peacock, chief economist at the Business Council of B.C., discusses the Bank of Canada’s latest rate decision and why his organization is revising the province’s economic forecast upward. [Starts at 00:30]

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Castanet: BC outlook looks good

The Business Council of British Columbia has improved its outlook for the provincial economy due in part to a stronger-than-expected job market.

In its mid-year review, the council has boosted its forecast for economic growth this year to 2.7 per cent, up from 2.2 per cent forecast early this year.

It credits robust consumer spending and a job market that has defied expectations, with employment growth hitting a 23-year high of 4.1 per cent in the second quarter.

But a rise in interest rates and B.C.'s wildfires pose a growing risk to the economic outlook, the council said.

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BIV: ‘Disproportionate’ growth still flowing into housing as B.C. economy revised upward: BCBC

A “disproportionate” amount of growth is still flowing into the B.C. housing sector this year even as business investment remains soft, according to a report from the Business Council of British Columbia.

Meanwhile, higher than expected job growth and consumer spending also helped the BCBC revise an earlier economic forecast from 2.2% real GDP growth in 2017 to 2.7%.

“The momentum from last year is carrying forward more so than previously anticipated, prompting us to adjust our 2017 forecast upwards,” the BCBC said in its quarterly economic review and outlook.

The lower value of the loonie coupled with higher commodity prices helped B.C. merchandise exports reach nearly $40 billion in 2016

But the BCBC expects new U.S. duties targeting Canadian softwood lumber to hurt exports in that sector this year.

The BCBC highlighted job growth as one reason it revised its economic forecast.

Job growth was up 3.6% in the first quarter and 4.1% in the second quarter of 2017 compared with 3.1% growth in 2016.

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Vancouver Sun: B.C. lags other provinces in reaching greenhouse gas reduction targets

[Excerpt] Greg D’Avignon, president of the Business Council of B.C., said in a written statement that the council supports carbon tax increases so long as it remains in step with other jurisdictions, particularly in Canada and the United States.

The council, which represents 250 major businesses in B.C., including in the energy sector, cautions both the provincial and federal governments to be careful that regulatory change and increases to the carbon tax are not out of step with other jurisdictions, which would threaten the country’s export economy, said D’Avignon. “The result will be carbon leakage and a shift of market advantage to other jurisdictions,” he said.

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CBC: B.C. Liberals leave checkered legacy following 16 years of power

[Excerpt] "Campbell's departure was really triggered by the fiasco around the HST," said Jock Finlayson with the Business Council of B.C.  

"It's quite unprecedented for a government to introduce a major piece of tax legislation and it triggered this public backlash that led to the petition launched by Mr. Vander Zalm, securing enough signatures to force a referendum on the matter, then the government losing the referendum." 

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Vancouver Sun: Labour group delighted by transfer of power in B.C.; business group looks for stability


After Thursday’s non-confidence vote, but before a decision by Guichon,Business Council of B.C. senior official Jock Finlaysonsaid the council wants a functioning government that can command enough support in the legislature to put forward a budget and a legislative program.

Finlayson, executive vice-president and chief policy officer for the council, said the business grouphad no position on whether there should have been another election.

The council will deal with the changes in priorities and economic policy that will come with an NDP-Green government, he said.

He said he didn’t think the political uncertainty in recent weeks was hurting the economy in B.C., as there was no evidence it was hurting retail sales or the housing market.

“It may be having a bit of an effect on business confidence. … And if the uncertainty persists, that could become more visible,” said Finlayson.

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CBC Radio, BC Almanac: Political Uncertainty

Jock Finlayson, chief policy officer of the Business Council of British Columbia, and Seth Klein, B.C. director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, with guest host Michelle Eliot on political uncertainty in B.C. 

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Vancouver Sun: B.C. Liberals tout $2.8B surplus, reduced debt on eve of expected defeat

[Excerpt] “The economy has been much stronger than pretty much anyone anticipated,” said Ken Peacock, chief economist for the Business Council of B.C. and a council member.

Peacock said the forecast council does its projection each November and has the opportunity to tweak it in January, and the first time anyone would have realized they had underestimated B.C.’s growth was at the beginning of June, when Statistics Canada released its estimate of the province’s GDP growth.

“Prior to the Statistics Canada number coming out, it’s people running their own models and doing their own assessment,” Peacock said.

Peacock guessed that officials in the Ministry of Finance, who tend to be more conservative in their estimates, were as surprised as everyone else.

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Vancouver Sun: Vancouver International Airport, Musqueam band sign 30-year 'friendship' agreement

[Excerpt] The Business Council of British Columbia hailed the agreement as an example of reconciliation that improves the health, education and social outcomes for First Nations groups and strengthens the province’s economy and ability to attract investment. 

The agreement caps a growing list of more than 250 agreements between B.C. First Nations and industry, said CEO Greg D’Avignon.

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Voice of BC - A Tale of Two Provinces

VIDEO: Jock joins Vaughn Palmer and Ben Parfitt to discuss the sharp differences between BC's rural and urban economies. They also share their thoughts on what the ongoing uncertainty in Victoria means for the overall BC economy.

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Bloomberg BNA: British Columbia: Vancouver Raises Minimum Wage, Challenges Other Employers

[Excerpt] The makeup of the next British Columbia government remains uncertain following a May 9 general election that left the governing Liberal Party of British Columbia and a coalition of the opposition Green Party and New Democratic Party deadlocked for seats in the provincial parliament.

The NDP advocates a C$15 hourly minimum, and the Greens have promised to establish a fair wages commission to set a new minimum wage and oversee regular rate reviews.

Business Council of British Columbia president Greg D’Avignon told Bloomberg BNA June 9 that the main concern with such wage increases is “rate shock.”

“If you move from the current [minimum wage] to $20 overnight, businesses shut down and students and those most vulnerable pay the price with job loss or limited access to their first job,” D’Avignon said.

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CTV News: B.C.'s NDP-Green agreement required reading ahead of likely minority government

[Excerpt] Greg D'Avignon, of the B.C. Business Council, said he supports plans to form an emerging economy task force and establish an innovation commission for business development in the technology sector, but he's wary of proposed increases to the carbon tax.

B.C. businesses pay millions a year in carbon taxes while trade partners, competitors and possible customers in Canada and other jurisdictions are not paying a similar tax, and talk of raising the tax is causing concern, he said.

“We don't have an issue with the carbon tax going up as a business council,” said D'Avignon. “We have an issue with the carbon tax going up just in B.C. Some of my members pay as much as $50 million a year in carbon tax that no one else in North America pays.”

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