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.
Finlayson & Mullen Op-Ed: Without pipelines, Canada's prosperity is on the line (Troy Media & Vancouver Sun)
When it comes to reaching new energy markets, Canada lags dangerously behind the Americans, who have aggressively expanded their oil and gas industry and built the infrastructure necessary to support it.
There are approximately 840,000 kilometers (km) of pipelines in Canada — 25,000 km of feeder lines, 250,000 km of gathering lines, 450,000 km of distribution lines, and 117,000 km of transmission lines. They carry oil, refined petroleum products, and natural gas. The National Energy Board directly regulates ~73,000 km of this pipeline network; the provinces are largely responsible for everything else.
Finlayson Op-Ed: Economic silver linings for Canada in the Trump cloud (Troy Media)
Donald Trump’s surprise victory in the Presidential election, coupled with continued Republican control of both branches of the U.S. Congress, heralds significant changes in American policy in the domains of trade, immigration, foreign affairs, energy and taxation, among other areas. Many Canadians are understandably uneasy about the direction America may take under new leadership. At a minimum, Mr. Trump’s political ascendancy injects added stress and uncertainty into an already fragile and unsettled world.
Peacock Op-Ed: Looking to B.C. Budget 2017 — Strengthening B.C.’s Competitive Position (Surrey Business News)
B.C.’s economy is in reasonably good shape and the province looks to be on track to lead the country in economic and job growth this year and likely next year as well. This relatively buoyant economic backdrop is boosting B.C. government revenues and providing the province with some fiscal room. The recently released First Quarterly Report shows the B.C .government with a $2 billion surplus in 2016-17, thanks mostly to upside revenue surprises from personal income taxes and the property transfer tax.
While all this is good news, the fact is that British Columbia’s competitiveness within North America has eroded over the past several years. The extent of the problem varies across sectors and industries. But companies operating on the land base, manufacturers, and industries that rely significantly on energy to run their operations face mounting difficulties stemming from complex First Nations claims, onerous permitting and environmental rules, and high and still rising tax-inclusive energy costs. Across the province, the forestry, mining, and oil and gas industries are at the forefront of these challenges. Closer to home, in Surrey the agriculture industry and local manufacturers (lumber mills, parts of food processing, industrial equipment, high-tech) are all also challenged by B.C.’s deteriorating competitive position.
Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: B.C. tax regime hurts new investment in equipment, technology (Business in Vancouver)
While B.C. has recently posted some impressive economic numbers compared with the rest of the country, in a few areas we continue to underperform. The most glaring example is non-residential business investment.
Investment in “tangible” capital, such as machinery, equipment, structures, advanced technology products and engineering infrastructure, is essential to a thriving business sector. Increasingly, investment in “intangible” forms of capital, such as research and development, patents, trademarks, business processes and employee training, is also becoming a key ingredient in business success. Both kinds of capital contribute directly to economic growth and job creation in the short term. And with time, the benefits of such investments are magnified. Expanding and improving the stock of capital means that employees have up-to-date machinery and equipment, modern facilities, more efficient infrastructure and better intellectual property products to work with, allowing them to become more productive (and, hopefully, to earn more).
The Trump Presidency: Three Possible Silver Linings for Canada
For British Columbia and Canada generally, there are economic downsides and upsides from the new political order that’s about to take shape in Washington, D.C.
5 Points of Interest about BC’s Labour Market
The BC job market is very healthy and employment is growing at a robust pace. Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey shows that between September and October of this year BC gained another ~15,000 jobs, further underscoring the fact that BC stands out in the federation on most key labour market metrics.
Woodfibre LNG: Unlocking BC’s Natural Gas Assets
Statement from BCBC on the authorization of the Woodfibre LNG project
Diverse and Growing: BC's Agriculture Industry on the Rise
BC's agri-food industry has enjoyed strong growth in recent years.
Mapping Metro Vancouver's Corporate Economy, Part Two: Private Companies
In the first part of our blog series, “Mapping Metro Vancouver’s Corporate Economy,” we examined the biggest publicly-traded companies. This blog considers another facet of the corporate sphere: private companies.
Finlayson & Peacock: BC economic policy needs to cultivate more large companies (Business in Vancouver)
The Conference Board of Canada defines innovation as “the process through which economic or social value is extracted from knowledge to produce new or improved products, processes…or capabilities.” In our recent paper, “Innovation for Jobs and Productivity” (www.bcbc.com), the Business Council argues that innovation is the key to creating and sustaining more high-productivity, high-wage jobs in British Columbia.
SUBMISSION in advance of the 2017 Provincial Budget
The Business Council's submission to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services in advance of the 2017 Provincial Budget
SUBMISSION to the Commission on Tax Competitiveness
The Business Council of British Columbia's submission to the B.C. Commission on Tax Competitiveness
Mapping Metro Vancouver’s Corporate Economy
Ranking BC-based businesses by annual revenues is one way to develop a better understanding of the nature and make-up of the province’s business community. In this blog, we probe the “corporate economy” of Metro Vancouver by looking at the top 100 public companies in BC, 94 of which happen to be headquartered in Metro Vancouver.
BCBC applauds PNW LNG Decision
The Business Council of British Columbia welcomes today’s approval of the $11.4 billion Pacific Northwest LNG processing plant by the Federal Government, which comes after a thorough environmental assessment process.
Peacock Op-ed: B.C.'s Comparatively Good Economic Performance Should Not Foster Complacency (Surrey Business News)
The provincial economy is in good shape, supported by gains in parts of the export sector, impressive job growth, robust consumer spending and a booming housing market. In fact, B.C. is positioned to outpace all provinces in economic growth this year, and perhaps in 2017 as well. While this is an enviable position to be in, it should not breed complacency. Policy makers need to pay attention to competitiveness and step up efforts to make B.C. an attractive place for companies to invest and create well-paying jobs.
One reason for staying cautious is because B.C.’s ascent to the top of the provincial growth rankings is partly explained by the fact that Canada’s previous growth stars – Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland – have all been hit hard by the collapse in oil prices. Although B.C. is set to lead the country, we will do so with a very typical or average rate of economic growth compared to what the province has experienced over the past two decades.
Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: B.C.’s economic buffer in the energy downturn: real estate (Business in Vancouver)
BC’s economy looks to be in decent shape. The province led the country in economic growth last year and will likely do so again in 2016. In the U.S., just six of the 50 states exceeded B.C.’s 3% GDP growth rate in 2015.
So why is our province faring so well? One reason is that we don’t produce much oil and so have avoided the worst fallout from the worldwide oil price collapse. The weaker Canadian dollar has also helped. Non-resource manufacturing, high technology goods and services, agricultural products, tourism, and film and television production have all enjoyed hefty gains, in part because a feebler Canadian dollar makes them more competitive in the North American market. But other provinces also benefit from a cheaper currency.
In fact, much of B.C.’s recent success reflects the unusual strength of the domestic economy. And supported by record low mortgage rates and steady inflows of migrants and wealth from outside our borders, the residential housing complex has had a starring role in B.C.’s robust domestic economy, via new home construction, high levels of renovation spending and escalating home prices.
Growing More Significant-Scale Firms: An Important Innovation Goal for BC
In our new paper, “Innovation for Jobs and Productivity,” the Business Council argues that innovation is the key to creating and sustaining more high-productivity, high-wage jobs in the province.
New Regional Effort Aims to Establish Cascadia Innovation Corridor
British Columbia and Washington leaders come together to strengthen collaboration, create cross-border opportunity
Innovation for Jobs and Productivity:
Fostering High-Growth BC Businesses, Creating More High-Paying Jobs
How can British Columbia draw on its strengths to build a vibrant, diverse economy, one that produces rewarding employment opportunities and rising incomes for the people who work and do business here? Scholars and leading international organizations agree that the best route to sustained prosperity is by developing a highly productive economy.
PRESENTATION: Aboriginal Economic Development & Prosperity Forum
Our Economic Prospects in a Slow-Growth World as presented by Jock Finlayson and Ken Peacock at the Aboriginal Economic Development and Prosperity Forum.