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Globe and Mail: Alberta and B.C. walk into a trade minefield

EXCERPT: 

Jock Finlayson, chief policy officer for the Business Council of B.C., said both provinces can end up bruised if they mess with that trade balance.

"Any tit-for-tat responses from the two provincial governments in the coming weeks and months will end up hurting consumers and businesses in both jurisdictions," he said. "A trade war between two provinces that are economically very interdependent should be avoided at all costs. The losers under such a scenario will vastly outnumber the winners."

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Globe and Mail: BC's loans for first time home buyers saw little pickup last year, report finds

EXCERPT:

Jock Finlayson, executive vice-president of the Business Council of B.C., said the government should scrap the program and instead look at policies that temper, rather than fuel, demand.

"If policymakers are worried about upward pressure on prices, they should not be undertaking programs that stimulate demand," he said.

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Times Colonist: BC ride-hailing report makes 32 recommendations to pave way for regulations

EXCERPT:

"It's great to see all parties supporting ride-sharing options that would provide choice for passengers," said Ian Tostenson of Ridesharing Now for B.C. "We are encouraged by today's report and look forward to the NDP government moving forward on this file in 2018."

The coalition is sponsored by Lyft and Uber and includes the Vancouver Board of Trade, B.C. Business Council, Vancouver Economic Commission, B.C. Chamber of Commerce, Urban Development Institute, Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Finger Food Studios and the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association.

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Alaska Highway News: Business organizations ask BC premier to reconsider pipeline actions

EXCERPT:

A group of business organizations in B.C. has banded together to send a message to Premier John Horgan: additional delays to the Trans Mountain expansion project “is clearly not in the best interests of British Columbia or Canada.” 

The open letter, accessible by clicking here, was sent to Horgan by five key B.C. business organizations: the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, the Business Council of British Columbia, and the B.C. Chamber of Commerce.

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CTV News: BC government throne speech put focus on housing, child care

EXCERPT:

Five B.C. organizations, representing an array of businesses, issued an open letter to Horgan on Tuesday expressing their “deep concern” about the government's opposition to the pipeline.

“Failing to respect the rule of law and the largely federal jurisdiction over this project is not only deeply unfair to the stakeholders who respected the process, but also represents a fundamental departure from what it means for B.C. to be part of Canada,” the letter says.

It was signed by the leaders of the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, the Business Council of British Columbia, and the BC Chamber of Commerce.

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The Voice: Business Organizations ask BC Premier to reconsider pipeline actions

EXCERPT:

"We urge you and your government to stop its opposition to this approved project before we do further damage to the province’s reputation as one that is open for business or, worse, causes a provincial trade war that inflicts lasting damage on the relationship between BC and Alberta. It’s now time to put shovels in the ground."

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Business in Vancouver: Alberta - BC Trade War Needs Trudeau Peacekeeping Mission

Excerpt:

“In 2013, B.C. exported an estimated $16.6 billion worth of goods and services to Alberta. Of that, $7.2 billion was in the form of goods; the rest was in things like professional services.

“The value of the goods exported to Alberta exceeded B.C. exports to China in 2013 ($6.6 billion), according to the Business Council of BC."

Read story in Business in Vancouver

Also featured in: 

Richmond Review

Prince George Citizen

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Business in Vancouver: Throne Speech Signals Spending Spree

Greg D’Avignon, CEO of the Business Council of British Columbia, said many of the priorities in the throne speech are also priorities for business, since affordability is important to attracting and retaining workers.

But Tuesday’s Throne speech focused primarily on spending, and had little to say about wealth generation.

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Vancouver Sun: Friends with (economic) benefits: How BC and Alberta profit from each other

Excerpt:

Alberta accounted for $21.4 billion in imports and exports through the Port of Vancouver in 2016, which delivered considerable benefits for both provinces. Alberta’s 2016 exports to China, Japan and the rest of Asia totalled $5.7 billion alone, the Business Council of B.C. reported last summer....

Both provinces sell the majority of their exports to the United States, but as inter-provincial trading partners, B.C. and Alberta are bigger customers for each other than China is for either. In a 2017 report, the Business Council of B.C. characterized their economies as arguably the most interdependent among any two provinces in Canada.

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CBC: Full Blown BC and Alberta trade war unlikely despite pipeline dispute, says economist

"Our two provinces are very, very dependent economically, and the notion of a sort of rupture ... on a major scale is obviously concerning," said Jock Finlayson

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NEWS 1130: BC organizations band together in push to bring in ridesharing

EXCERPT:

A number of different interest groups have banded together in an new push to bring ridesharing to BC.

Ian Tostenson with the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association speaks for “Ridesharing Now BC,” which includes the Vancouver Board of Trade, BC Business Council, The Canadian National Institute for the Blind, among others.

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Canadian Business: BC based coalition launches campaign to bring ride hailing to the province

EXCERPT:

Eight organizations in British Columbia are joining forces to advocate for ride-hailing services in the province as soon as possible.

The Ridesharing Now BC coalition has been formed by groups including the Vancouver Board of Trade, BC Business Council and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.

Read online at Canadian Business

Also featured in:

Times Colonist

CBC

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CBC: B.C. organizations join forces to push ride-hailing in the province

Nine organizations in British Columbia are joining forces to advocate for ride-hailing services in the province as soon as possible.

Ridesharing Now B.C. has been formed by groups including the Vancouver Board of Trade, B.C. Business Council, Canadian National Institute for the Blind and the San Francisco-based on-demand transportation company Lyft.

A news release from the coalition says it has launched a letter-writing campaign to B.C. politicians calling for a competitive ride-hailing industry "that can deliver much-needed choice to B.C. passengers.''

Supporters are directed to the website, where they can sign and email a letter to their representative in the legislature calling for speedy introduction of ride-hailing services.

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BIV: NDP in Alberta, B.C. square off over Trans Mountain

[Excerpt] While B.C.’s new restrictions might not be the “nail in the coffin” for Trans Mountain that environmental groups are hoping it will be, it telegraphs another negative signal from B.C. to the international investment community, according to the Business Council of British Columbia (BCBC).

“This announcement will have a detrimental effect on B.C.’s reputation as a place to deploy capital and create private-sector jobs,” said BCBC president Greg D’Avignon.

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Express Newsline: Alberta's Notley says BC will face consequences over oil shipment plan

EXCERPT:

Business Council of B.C. CEO Greg D'Avignon questioned whether B.C. has jurisdiction to limit shipments of "a federally regulated product through a federally approved piece of infrastructure", which adds uncertainty that damages the province's reputation as a place to do business.

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Vancouver Sun: B.C. proposes spill regulations, could impact Trans Mountain Expansion

[Excerpt] Business Council of B.C. CEO Greg D’Avignon questioned whether B.C. has jurisdiction to limit shipments of “a federally regulated product through a federally approved piece of infrastructure,” which adds uncertainty that damages the province’s reputation as a place to do business.

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BIV on Roundhouse January 23

Chief Economist of the Business Council of B.C., Ken Peacock, breaks down his latest economic forecast and explains why the province is still primed for economic growth despite global uncertainties. [16:15]

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Vancouver Sun: Real estate 'headwinds' could slow retail, construction sales: BCBC

The province’s economy, which enjoyed a robust year in 2017, is expected to downshift in 2018, according to the Business Council of B.C.

The residential real estate industry has driven so much growth across the B.C. economy in recent years. Now, with so-called “policy headwinds” in sight, there will also likely be an accompanying impact on retail sales and construction, says BCBC chief economist Ken Peacock, whose group analyzes economic prosperity and competitiveness.

Total retail spending in B.C. was up nearly 10 per cent in 2017. In particular, sales at building material stores were up nearly 30 per cent in the second and third quarters of 2017. Automobile retailers posted an annualized gain of more than 25 per cent in the third quarter.

“The steady inflow of foreign money and wealthy immigrants are factors, but so is the broader wealth effect from soaring real estate values as more B.C. homeowners tap into their home equity to help finance renovations and other large purchases,” wrote Peacock.

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Radio NL: The Business Council of B.C. wants the NDP Government to tread carefully when raising the minimum wage

The BC Business council is recommending the NDP government go it slow on hiking the minimum wage.

Executive Vice President Jock Finlayson is recommending a measured incremental approach.

Finlayson says, BCBC wants a hike in the minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour in five years, but doesn’t offer any specifics.

“We are at $11.35 an hour at the moment in B.C. We said moving to $15.00 should be done over the sort over the 2021-2022 period, in a series of modest steps. One thing we don’t want to see is a replication in British Columbia of what Ontario is doing. Ontario is taking a very dramatic jump from $11.35 an hour to $14.00 an hour in just one year”

Finlayson told the Fair Wage Commission a few years of modest and predictable step by step increases will give employers and the labour market time to adjust and limit harmful consequences.

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BIV: New year starts with tax breaks for B.C. businesses

[Excerpt] Jock Finlayson, chief policy officer for the Business Council of British Columbia, has calculated the total costs to business of various taxes and fees, as well as the breaks they will get, for fiscal 2018-19.

He thinks that, overall, businesses will be in a slightly better position in 2018, with respect to fees and taxes, although that advantage is likely to be short-lived.

In 2018, bigger businesses will pay a 1% increase in corporate taxes – $306 million in total. On the other hand, small business in B.C. will pay $81 million less from a 0.5% reduction in the small-business tax rate.

Finlayson calculates the carbon tax increase will cost British Columbians $212 million, about half of which will be paid by business. On the other hand, a 50% reduction in PST on electricity sales will save business $82 million.

The biggest item, however, is MSP premium cuts. The 50% reduction will cost the government $1.24 billion.

“It’s clear that a substantial chunk of this $1.24 billion of MSP premium reduction will, in the first instance, accrue to employers – I would think at least half of it,” Finlayson said. “In net terms, there’s going to be, for employers in general, a cost saving in 2018-19, as a result of the combination of measures that were announced in the September 2017 budget update. How it plays out will vary by industry and by company. It’s a bit hard to generalize, but for business in aggregate, I would estimate some sort of net cost saving in 2018-19.”

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