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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.


Submission: Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services

The Business Council of British Columbia submits preliminary advice on the 2012 provincial budget to the legislature's Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services.

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Small Decline in the BC Economic Index in Q3

BC Economic Index       v10 n3
In the third quarter of 2011 the BC Economic Index registered a slight 0.1% contraction. Adding to the weak reading, the result from the second quarter was revised down from a respectable 0.8% increase to a more modest 0.5% advance. As an indicator of current economic conditions, the downward revision coupled with the small contraction in Q3 indicates that the provincial economy essentially stalled over the past few months.

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British Columbia in the Asian Century

Policy Perspectives       v18 n4
It is no longer a question of if but rather a matter of when. Almost a decade ago – back in 2003, to be precise – the global economics group at Goldman Sachs drew attention to the rise of Asia and sent minor shockwaves through the US establishment with its proclamation that China would overtake America to become the world’s biggest national economy in 2041. At the time this was viewed as a credible projection, but the fact that the eclipse date was nearly forty years away meant it was still fairly abstract and was enveloped with the uncertainty that invariably attends multi‐decade forecasts. Sustained double-digit growth in China prompted Goldman Sachs to revise its projection for the crossover date to 2027 a few years later. And now, following the Great Recession and what is expected to be a subdued economic expansion for the United States, 2019 is the most widely cited year for China to surpass America in overall economic size.

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Asian century: How BC can profit

By Jock Finlayson, Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer, Business Council of British Columbia
How long before a surging China eclipses a slumping United States as the largest national economy? The question is timely as the world continues to recover from the 2008-09 financial crisis and economic downturn.

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Another Quarter of Modest Growth For BC

BC Economic Index       v10 n2
In the second quarter of 2011 the BC Economic Index posted a 0.8% quarterly increase. As an indicator of current economic conditions, this reading suggests the provincial economy is growing at a modest pace following similar performances in both the first quarter and the fourth quarter of 2010. Given the economic recovery is just two years old, this rate of expansion is not particularly strong. But against the backdrop of rising global uncertainty and ongoing malaise in the US, another interpretation is that BC’s economy is holding up relatively well.

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The Natural Gas Story

Environment and Energy Bulletin       v3 n2
Both globally and in North America, natural gas is poised to play a bigger role in meeting the energy needs of consumers, businesses and communities. Recent discoveries of large unconventional (shale) gas deposits in the United States, Canada and parts of Europe have heightened awareness that natural gas is an abundant, widely distributed and cost-effective energy source. Many analysts also see natural gas as a “foundation” fuel that can help to pave the way to a lower-carbon energy future. And with a number of countries – Japan, Germany, etc. – now looking at reducing their reliance on nuclear power, the global appetite for natural gas seems poised to increase markedly in the coming years.

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Transportation Infrastructure for a Globally Conneted BC Economy

Policy Perspectives       v18 n2
Infrastructure is the sometimes invisible and seldom discussed backbone of a modern economy. A region’s infrastructure affects the quality of life enjoyed by citizens, the competitive position of businesses, and the potential for long-term gains in productivity and incomes. As a small economy, BC depends heavily on trade with other countries and provinces to generate income, employment and tax revenues. Both the profit margins on exports and the costs of imported goods are linked to the efficiency of the freight transportation system. As a gateway to the Asia Pacific, BC’s transportation sector is more than a facilitator of trade. In connecting Asian countries with other North American jurisdictions, the industry generates its own export earnings, apart from the enabling economic activity more broadly. Transportation as an industry looms larger in BC than in other provinces.

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Moderate Expansion Continues in 2011

BC Economic Index       v10 n1
The BC Economic Index posted a 0.6% quarterly increase in the first quarter of the year, essentially matching the Q4 2010 rise. The good news is that consecutive quarterly gains in the Index of this magnitude indicate the economy is on a solid footing. But a cautionary note is that growth remains on the soft side considering the depth of the 2008/09 recession. With growth having slowed quite sharply from the early stages of the recovery, BC’s unemployment rate remains in excess of 8%. For it to move lower will require more job creation which ultimately depends on a return to more robust economic conditions.

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A New World Order Takes Shape

Policy Perspectives       v18 n1
How long before a surging China eclipses a struggling United States as the largest national economy? The question takes on new significance as the world continues to recover from the 2008-09 financial crisis and economic downturn.

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Lessons Learned from the Prosperity Mine Decision:
Enhancing Project Certainty Through a Social Licence Strategy

Environment and Energy Bulletin       v3 n1
Since the Federal Cabinet’s decision in November, 2010 to prohibit the proposed Prosperity Mine project from proceeding, questions have arisen about how this outcome came to pass, especially in circumstances where the project was previously approved through the British Columbia environmental assessment process and received strong words of support from the BC Government. One only has to consider the voluminous media coverage of this dilemma to understand the answer and to gain an appreciation of what now appears to be the most critical ingredient for success in any major resource project proposal. The critical ingredient? - “social licence” to develop and operate the project.

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BC's 2009 Recession Crimps an Otherwise Strong Growth Performance in 2000s

The recently released Provincial Economic Accounts provide an opportunity to look back at BC’s economic performance. While preliminary data had already shown the province’s economy experiencing a sizable contraction in 2009, the more complete data allows for a more comprehensive review of economic well-being, export performance and other comparative metrics. The 2009 data also brings the decade to a close, affording a longer term assessment of BC’s economic performance for the entire decade.

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Small Business Growth

The role of small businesses necessarily features prominently in any discussion of the structure and performance of British Columbia’s economy. It is no exaggeration to say that an orientation toward small businesses is one of the defining characteristics of the province’s economy.

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The Harmonized Sales Tax -- Through an Economic Prism

This issue of Policy Perspectives is guest authored by Jon Kesselman of Simon Fraser University. Recognized as one of Canada's leading public finance and tax policy experts, Dr. Kesselman outlines the economic benefits of the Harmonized Sales Tax which the BC government plans to introduce later this year. The Business Council is grateful to Dr. Kesselman for contributing this timely article.

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Outlook 2020: Shaping BC's Economic Future

Authored by Jock Finlayson, and Ken Peacock, Business Council of British Columbia

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Profile and Outlook for the BC Agri-Food Industry

Authored by Gregg Burkinshaw, Business Council of British Columbia

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Vancouver as a City-Region in the Global Economy

Authored by the Vancouver Economic Development Commission

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Shifting Perceptions: Health Industries as a Source of Wealth Creation in British Columbia

Authored by Jock Finlayson and Ken Peacock, Business Council of British Columbia

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2010 Biennial Skills and Attributes

The labour demands of the marketplace are continually changing with the general economic environment and the introduction of new technologies. Reflecting these pressures, British Columbia employers are seeking different combinations of skills and attributes in new hires in order to maintain their competitive edge. Job seekers in turn must keep pace with the necessary skills set sought by employers in today's dynamic work environment. The Business Council of BC's 2010 Biennial Survey has been designed to help entrants to the workforce do just that: identify the most important skills and attributes BC employers are seeking in new job applicants. Identifying these skills and attributes in turn helps job seekers better prepare for careers in a range of sectors and occupations.

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Corporate Income Tax: Getting the Economics Right

The past decade has seen a remarkable transformation in Canada’s business tax landscape. Starting in the late 1990s, both the federal and most provincial governments began to reduce corporate income taxes – the taxes levied on business income or profits. At the national level, the general federal corporate income tax (CIT) rate stood at 28% in 1999; today it is 18%, and the current government intends to bring it to 15% by 2012. Moreover, in recent years Ottawa has eliminated the income surtaxes and capital taxes that it previously imposed on large and medium-sized businesses.

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Opportunity BC 2020: BC's Forest Industry, Moving from a Volume Focus to a Value Perspective

Authored by Woodbridge Associations

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