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.
The Investment Conundrum
Business non-residential capital spending has been on a declining trend for three years. The slump is particularly evident in the energy sector, but the weakness has spread well beyond the oil and gas industry.
BC Exports in 2016: Five Points of Interest
BC is a small, open, trade dependent economy. As such, exports play a big role in underpinning prosperity and stimulating growth. When exports rise, BC’s economy generally strengthens. Given the dominant role that natural resources have in BC’s overall export profile, exports are also the backbone of many smaller communities around the province.
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.
2017 Federal Budget: Lots of Words, Few New Measures
A principal theme of this Budget is the need to improve Canada’s lagging performance on private sector innovation, with the federal government directing funds to stimulate growth in six key innovation-based industry sectors and pledging to develop a handful of “super clusters” across Canada.
RELEASE: Budget 2017 Offers Opportunities for Innovation, But BCBC Cautious on Canada's Overall Competitiveness
Today's federal budget, delivered at a time of significant global uncertainty, abrupt shifts in markets, and accelerating technological change, offers new opportunities for innovation and emerging sectors. However, the Business Council of British Columbia remains cautious on the implications of the continued federal deficit and questions whether enough is being done to strengthen Canada's competitiveness.
BC Economy Still Healthy...But Growth Will Downshift in 2017
Following three years in which BC topped the provincial growth charts, in 2017 our economy will lose a bit of momentum.
BC Jobs Part II: A Visual Summary of BC's 2016 Regional Job Performance
In this second part of this series, we take a deeper dive into the labour market and shed some light on the regional dimensions.
An innovative ‘meeting place’ between the BC business community and First Nations leadership launches to support economic reconciliation in BC
The Champions Table, an initiative resulting from the commitments made between the B.C Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN) and the Business Council of British Columbia (BCBC) in their Memorandum of Understanding signed on September 6, 2016, held their inaugural meeting on March 8th, 2017. The Champions Table establishes a formal ongoing dialogue where leaders can come together to explore opportunities, discuss barriers and work jointly to develop and advance a more effective approach to economic development based on reconciliation with First Nations.
Finlayson Op-Ed: Growing more large companies should be a key policy goal for B.C. (Troy Media, Exchange Magazine & Castanet)
The B.C. government recently published its annual “small business profile,” a document that highlights the role and impact of the small business sector in our economy. The table below summarizes the distribution of B.C. businesses by size category. Of 396,000 enterprises, more than half are one-person operations with no paid employees. Another 109,500 have between 1-4 staff. Just 7,700 have 50 or more employees. And perhaps 1,500-1,750 of these have surpassed the 100 employee threshold.
Finlayson Op-Ed: A closer look at the 2017 BC Budget (Business in Vancouver)
Parsing the details of the Liberal government’s 2017 budget offers a number of insights into British Columbia’s $270 billion economy. The first and most significant is the advantage conferred by economic and industrial diversification.
BC Jobs Part I: A Visual Summary of BC's 2016 Job Performance Within Canada
In this first of a two part series of blogs on BC Jobs, we provide an overview of employment growth in 2016 within a comparative national framework.
BC Budget 2017 Analysis
Budget 2017 is a good news budget. While it falls shy of being a “something-for-everyone” document, it does announce some useful tax/premium reductions along with increased spending in a number of high priority areas. It also extends the province’s track record of sound fiscal management. Apart from the risk stemming from the high debt load of certain Crown corporations, Tuesday’s budget reinforces BC’s top notch credit rating.
NEWS RELEASE: Budget 2017 Moves Toward Improved Business Competitiveness While Still Balancing the Books
Victoria - The Business Council of British Columbia welcomes today’s provincial budget, which managed to find room for tax relief while maintaining the government’s commitment to balance the budget. This is a noteworthy accomplishment at a time of global uncertainty and when most other provinces continue to face budgetary shortfalls. Keeping the books balanced reaffirms the government’s commitment to prudent fiscal management, and provides BC with some policy flexibility going forward.
“Delivering a balanced budget within a climate of modest economic growth and a mixed outlook for commodities sets BC apart and signals that the province is a stable place to invest and do business,” said Greg D’Avignon, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Business Council of British Columbia. “We congratulate Minister de Jong and his cabinet colleagues for their continued focus on disciplined expenditure management.”
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.
Finlayson Op-Ed: Freelance job market booming, but there are real risks (Troy Media & Business in Vancouver)
The rise of the gig or sharing economy is one of the most visible trends shaping the contemporary labour market.
Gig jobs are an example of what economists describe as nonstandard work. Such work can be contrasted with a traditional job, in which a person has a durable and structured relationship with a specific employer within a permanent workforce.
Today, more people than ever generate income via contracting, freelancing, temporary assignments and various kinds of oncall arrangements.
Assessing The New US Administration's Impact on BC's Natural Resource Industries
What the US Administration does on trade, energy and environmental policy matters to BC’s natural resource sectors, and to the overall health of our economy.
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 & Peacock Op-Ed: More fiscal discipline needed down at your local city hall (Business in Vancouver)
Added together, the 21 municipalities that make up Metro Vancouver spent $3.74 billion on operations in 2015. This is separate from their outlays on infrastructure and other capital projects; nor does it include spending by the regional district.
In B.C., municipalities are responsible for delivering a wide array of services, including fire and police protection, garbage and recycling, water and sewer services, parks and recreation and roadworks. In a region that’s home to 2.5 million people, it is not surprising that local governments must earmark sizable sums to supply these services. What is striking, however, is the pace at which such expenditures have been growing in Metro Vancouver. As documented in a recent Business Council of British Columbia report (www.bcbc.com), over the past decade total municipal spending in the Metro Vancouver region jumped by a hefty 67%. Spending growth has slowed in the last few years, but the magnitude of the increase since 2005 stands out.