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.
Millennial Musings: A Policy Response to an Aging Population
While increased life expectancy is a positive development, it inevitably translates into additional strain on health and social service budgets. As the number of retirees increase, there will be fewer working-age taxpayers to provide the government revenues needed to pay for services. On top of this, a shrinking natural birthrate is also contributing to a more slowly-growing labour force.
BC Tops the Provinces in Economic Growth in 2015
Bolstered by the lower dollar, inward migration, and a hot housing market, BC’s economy grew by a solid 3.0% (after adjusting for inflation) in 2015. This was the strongest expansion since 2006, although just slightly above 2014’s healthy 2.9% gain.
Finlayson Op-Ed: B.C. needs to step up its game on innovation (Vancouver Sun & Troy Media)
The economic and business environment in which British Columbia operates is shifting. A number of trends are transforming the global economy in ways that can either help or hinder the quest for prosperity by countries and sub-national regions. The principal forces identified by the McKinsey Global Institute are: i) urbanization, particularly the rapid growth of cities in emerging markets; ii) accelerating technological change and the rise of the digital economy; iii) population aging and slower labour force growth; and iv) the onward march of globalization, via expanding cross-border flows of goods, services, finance, people and data – a trend that is heightening competition among jurisdictions for capital, talent and high-value business activity.
Investment Survey Signals Continued Weakness in Capital Spending
Statistics Canada’s just released capital expenditure survey confirms that the negative fall-out from sluggish energy and materials markets continues to take a toll on business investment across the country.
BC's Fastest Growing Industries Come from a Diverse Mix of Sectors
Amid the steep downturn in global commodity markets, the BC economy has held up surprisingly well. Two decades ago, a comparable world-wide mining/energy downturn would have meant malaise for the provincial economy. But what we see now, notwithstanding some regional challenges, is an economy that is on a solid growth footing.
Peacock Op Ed: Consideration for Transit: More People are Settling in Surrey than any other B.C. City (Surrey Business News)
Which B.C. city has experienced the largest population increase since 2011? Most readers will not be surprised at the answer: Surrey. Between 2011 and 2015, more than 43,000 additional people became residents of Surrey, which translates into an average of 900 more people per month over the past four years. During the same period, the City of Vancouver recorded the second biggest absolute population gain of just over 29,000, followed by Coquitlam (+14,000), Richmond (+11,700) and Langley District (+10,600).
BCBC announces exemplary BC business leader as incoming Chair
The Business Council of British Columbia (Council) is pleased to announce Marcia Smith, Senior Vice President, Sustainability and External Affairs at Teck Resources Limited (Teck) as incoming Chair, to be appointed at the Council’s upcoming 50th Anniversary Annual General Meeting on May 12th. Ms. Smith is a recognized leader in BC’s business community and has been an active member of the Council’s Board of Governors since 2010 and a member of its Executive Committee since 2012.
A Healthy Increase in Newly Incorporated Companies in BC
Last year saw a total of 37,934 new incorporations in the British Columbia, a record high that amounted to an 8.5% increase in the number of newly incorporated businesses. This follows a similar-sized gain in 2014.
Three Quick Lessons for Driving Innovation in Canada
Many scholars and business analysts would agree that the U.S. does it right when it comes to supporting technology and innovation. Here are three key lessons from the 2016 Economic Report of the President to help improve Canada’s lacklustre performance on innovation.
BCBC Submission on Climate Leadership Team October 2015 Recommendations
Business Council of British Columbia's submission on the Province of British Columbia's Climate Leadership Team October 2015 Recommendations
A Snapshot of Health Care Spending -- In Canada and Around the World
Health care in Canada consumed more than 40% of aggregate provincial government revenues in 2015, with the public and private spending necessary to provide the full suite of health services amounting to 10.7% of national GDP.
Putting the BC Carbon Price in Perspective
British Columbia’s carbon price as of 2016 is the highest in North America by a wide margin, given its attributes and broad application across most of the province’s economy.
Finlayson Op-Ed: Liberals step up state involvement, downplay role of enterprise in economy (Business in Vancouver)
Bill Morneau’s spending-heavy budget underscores two important shifts in the country’s economic and political landscape.
The first is Canada’s diminished economic prospects in an era of weak global growth and sluggish commodity markets. In the past two years, Canada has been buffeted by a substantial “terms of trade” shock, as the prices of our exports have fallen relative to what we pay for imports. Commodity prices, in particular, have plunged, a real blow for an economy that relies on natural resource industries for half of its exports and two-fifths of business investment.
Federal Budget Delivers on Liberal Campaign Commitments...But Little New for Business
In his inaugural budget, Finance Minister Bill Morneau ushered in a new era of higher federal spending and sizable deficits. It is important to take note of the current context: a Canadian economy that’s still struggling to adjust to dramatically lower oil prices and a generalized downturn in global commodity markets. We should also take account of the federal government’s solid baseline financial position. Even with a string of deficits, the federal debt/GDP ratio is projected to remain essentially flat over the next half decade.
BCBC Column: Budget 2016: What's in it for British Columbia? (Vancity Buzz)
Tuesday’s budget dips the country deeper into deficit to bring long promised support to lift up the middle class, First Nations, veterans and students. Although short on a clear path towards economic growth, the budget does offer some goodies that will compliment other efforts by the Liberal Government to advance innovation, infrastructure development and investment.
So – what’s in it for BC? Here’s a closer look at what yesterday’s budget means for you and the BC economy.
How far into the red are we going?
While no one likes to accumulate debt, with today’s record-low interest rates and when spent strategically to support economic growth, deficit spending can help boost an otherwise lagging national economy. It is also important to keep some perspective. The $30 billion in red ink that the Finance Minister is planning for each of the next two years should be seen against the backdrop of Canada’s $2 trillion economy. The federal government’s debt-to-GDP ratio is the lowest of the G7 countries. With that being said, the Business Council would like to see a strong focus over the medium term to bring the budget back into balance.
Post-Budget Economic Overview
Jock Finlayson presents a look at the global, national and BC economies in the context of the March 22nd federal budget.
Modest plans for economic growth supported by significant increases in spending
Council urges government to keep an eye towards Canada’s long term fiscal health
Vancouver, BC – March 22, 2016 – The Business Council of British Columbia welcomes today’s federal budget, which provides a modest boost to a sluggish Canadian economy and signals a renewed focus on stimulating innovation and infrastructure investments.
With the government’s decision to run deficits over the foreseeable future leading to a significant increase in debt, fostering an environment for sustained economic growth is essential to ensure the debt is kept manageable relative to the size of the economy. The Business Council believes the government should aim to keep the debt/GDP ratio on a downward track over the course of the updated fiscal plan outlined in Budget 2016.
Growing Forward: Cultivating Productivity in BC’s Agrifood Supply Chain
The combination of $12B in annual revenue (in 2015) from the mix of agrifood-related activities collectively represents a sizeable contribution to the provincial economy. As for employment, the entire agrifood supply chain supports more than 300,000 jobs, although the bulk of these are in the retail/wholesale and food and beverage segments of the sector.
Fast Facts on BC's Tech Sector
Tech is a good news story for BC – a story that we expect to continue. The province enjoys strengths in several different technology-based clusters – software and information and communications technologies; wireless technologies; bio-tech, life sciences and health innovation; clean/green technologies; and gaming and digital animation. Today's blog offers a few key facts about BC's Tech Sector.
Consumers Helping Drive Growth in BC
Propelled by strong spending growth, the total value of retail sales in BC surpassed the $70 billion mark in 2015. Sales at stores, malls and shops are growing at a healthy clip and are a significant factor underpinning BC’s solid overall economic performance.