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Economy

As trusted economists and policy advisors to business and government leaders, the Council relies on sound, evidence-based analysis to inform its policy recommendations. Through diligent tracking of BC’s economic performance, we help identify the opportunities and challenges the province must navigate in order to reach its full potential.

 

Statement from BCBC regarding Federal Court of Appeal Ruling

The Business Council of British Columbia has released the following statement from President and Chief Executive Officer, Greg D’Avignon regarding this week’s ruling by the Federal Court of Appeal

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Debt...Glorious Debt!

For the past decade or so, amid readily available credit and ultra-low interest rates, Canadians have been piling up debt.

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Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: Growing Tax Burden Hurts B.C. Business Competitiveness (Business in Vancouver)

In many sectors of our economy, the cost of operating a business has risen significantly over the past several years due to provincial government policy decisions. For a typical business, the most visible government-driven cost increases have come via higher (and in some cases new) taxes and fees. Below we briefly discuss the most salient examples.

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Finlayson Op-Ed: Time for a reality check about Canada’s exports (Troy Media & Black Press)

Industrial transitions don’t happen overnight. Nor do politicians generally have a decisive role in that evolution.

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Finlayson & St-Laurent Op-Ed: Jobs and careers in the ‘fourth industrial revolution’ (Troy Media)

The work world is being transformed by rapidly evolving digital technologies as we march into what many are calling the “fourth industrial revolution.”

With disruptive technologies pushing the frontiers of automation, some of the comparative advantages humans traditionally have enjoyed relative to technology are eroding. Computers and learning-based algorithms have progressed beyond replacing repetitive, manual tasks with mechanical execution.

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Williams Op-Ed: Will The Kids Be Alright? It’s Up To Us. (Vancouver Sun)

Will the kids be alright? Will they prosper? These are questions all parents ponder. For a child born today, their standard of living during adulthood will hinge upon the success of their parents’ generation in raising per capita gross domestic product (GDP per person). Small shifts in the trend growth rate in GDP per person lead to substantial differences in living standards over the course of a generation.

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Finlayson Op-Ed: Learning to adapt to the growing gig economy (Troy Media)

The rise of the gig or sharing economy is one of the most visible trends shaping the contemporary labour market.

Most gig jobs fall into the category of contingent work. Such work can be contrasted with a traditional job, in which a person has a durable and structured employment relationship with a specific employer. Today, more people are garnering income via contracting, freelancing, temporary assignments and various kinds of on-call arrangements. All of these are part of the broader gig economy.

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Firms in B.C. and Central Canada Report Widespread Capacity Pressures

The Bank of Canada’s Summer Business Outlook Survey provides some interesting insights into the extent of capacity pressures faced by companies across the country

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B.C. Employment by Industry -- The Long View

Following up on our recent blog looking at long-term employment growth by occupation, we now examine which industries have contributed to B.C. employment growth over time.

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B.C. Employment Growth by Occupation -- The Long View

How has the labour market in British Columbia changed over the past thirty years? How has technology reshaped it? What occupations have shown the most and the least employment growth?

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Finlayson Op-Ed: Toward higher costs and less competition in public-sector procurement (Vancouver Sun)

The provincial government is establishing a new framework for developing public-sector infrastructure projects.  Last week, Premier John Horgan and Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claire Trevena released an umbrella “Community Benefits Agreement” (CBA), intended to achieve several objectives:

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Mullen & St-Laurent Op-Ed: Why the workforce gender gap matters to business (Troy Media, Times Colonist & The Hamilton Spectator)

In British Columbia and Canada more broadly, the proportion of females aged 15 and over who participate in the labour force remains nine percentage points below that of males. And it has stayed this way since the early 1990s.

Why does this matter?

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How will Digitalization Affect the Labour Market?

The challenge facing policy-makers – in British Columbia, Canada and globally – is how to maximise the productivity gains of technological progress through digitalization, while taking steps to mitigate its intrinsically-skewed distribution of benefits.

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Toward Higher Costs and Less Competition in Public Sector Procurement

The provincial government is establishing a new framework for developing and sourcing labour to build public-sector infrastructure projects. We see at least two big problems with the government's plan.

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FInlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: B.C. job creation stalls, but province’s job vacancy rate still high (Business in Vancouver)

After several years of torrid job growth and a steadily falling unemployment rate, B.C.’s labour market looks to have cooled off.

In particular, job creation has come to a shuddering halt so far in 2018. In Statistics Canada’s June Labour Force Survey, for example, employment was down 0.3% from the month before. In fact, monthly job gains have been so lacklustre that the overall level of employment in the province is slightly below where it stood a year ago. Even Metro Vancouver – once Canada’s hottest job market – has experienced a dip in year-over-year employment. Moreover, the provincial unemployment rate has ticked higher, compared with both one month and one year ago.

Yet, oddly, there are also signs that the demand for workers remains robust.

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Where Does the Money Come From? The B.C. Government’s Top Revenue Sources

Where exactly does the province get the vast sums required to pay for the services and programs it provides or supports?

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Finlayson & St-Laurent Op-Ed: Young, educated Indigenous talent is ready (Troy Media)

B.C.’s Indigenous population is relatively young, with an average age of 33 compared to 42 for the non-Indigenous population. Even better, a growing proportion of Indigenous have some form of post-secondary education: a degree, a college credential or a trades certificate.

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Is It The Best of Times or The Worst of Times?

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Finlayson & St-Laurent Op-Ed: International visitors drive B.C. tourism growth (Troy Media)

It turns out that 2017 marked a 14-year high for annual international tourism to B.C. Some 7.9 million international travellers entered the province last year, an increase of 3.5 per cent over 2016. And the data for the first quarter of 2018 look even better, setting the stage for another record-breaking year for the industry.

Who visits B.C.?

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Finlayson & St-Laurent: Jobs in Demand: B.C.’s Labour Market Outlook to 2027 (PeopleTalk)

If you’re on the lookout for the hottest job trends, WorkBC – an agency of the provincial government -- recently released an updated Labour Market Outlook through to 2027. Over the next decade, the government anticipates 917,000 job openings. Roughly 70 per cent will result from current workers transitioning into retirement. Many of these positions can be filled by younger cohorts of workers, but that won’t be enough to staff all of the vacancies expected to emerge. The other 30 per cent of job openings will arise due to ongoing economic and industrial growth. To fill these positions, the supply of workers will have to be expanded, through immigration, attracting people from other provinces, and tapping into underutilized labour pools.

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