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Labour & Employment Policy

BC’s changing demographics and shifting employment opportunities present key challenges for employers, such as how to find enough skilled workers, how to adjust to a more diverse and aging workforce and how to comply with workplace regulations. The Council encourages rigorous analysis and proactive policies to address labour issues in advance of marketplace challenges.  The Council also promotes effective relationships between employers and employees by providing information to its members on important labour issues and advising government on policies that affect the workplace.

Growing Grey: Fiscal Policy Amid an Aging Population

As the population ages and more people exit the workforce than naturally enter it, policy-makers will be presented with significant challenges. This short paper looks at some of the fiscal stresses that demographic change will pose, with a specific focus on British Columbia, and suggests options that could help to ease the looming fiscal crunch.

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Which Countries Gain the Most by Employing "Golden Age" Workers?

As populations age, countries will have to rely more heavily on productivity growth and increased labour force participation from underrepresented groups to maintain living standards and provide tax revenues to pay for public services.

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RESEARCH PAPER: The Automation Potential of the British Columbia Labour Market

A research paper prepared by David Williams, Vice President of Policy, that takes a close look at the potential impact of automation on the B.C. labour market. This is the first study that considers how AI, robotics and other digital technologies may affect the demand for labour in the B.C. context.

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The Automation Potential of the British Columbia Labour Market: Some Insights

How will the BC labour market be impacted by automation? B.C. has a greater share of highly-automatable jobs compared to the rest of Canada.

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RELEASE: B.C. economy continues to post solid growth

Amid solid global growth and a booming U.S. economy, the British Columbia economy is in good shape and will continue to grow at a respectable, albeit more moderate, pace over the next two years. B.C.’s real GDP growth is expected to be in the 2.2% to 2.5% range for 2018 and 2019.

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Finlayson Op-Ed: B.C. doesn’t have enough workers to meet industries’ demand (Black Press)

For those interested in the hottest job trends, the provincial government’s new Labour Market Outlook is worth a look.

Over the next decade, the government is forecasting a total of 903,000 job openings in B.C. More than 600,000 will result from current workers transitioning into retirement.

Many of these positions can be filled by younger cohorts of workers, but that won’t be enough to produce warm bodies for all of the expected vacancies.

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Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: Why B.C. labour force participation is down in an up market (Business in Vancouver)

In an environment where jobs are plentiful, many employers are struggling to fill vacancies, and wages are rising, one would expect more people to be clamouring to join the work force.  This is precisely what has happened in B.C. over the past couple of years: strong employment growth helped to push the labour force participation rate higher.  By the end of 2017, 65.3 percent of the province’s working-age population was employed or actively seeking work, two percentage points higher than in 2015.    

But the recent bump runs counter to the longer-term trend, which has seen the labour force participation rate drift lower.  In fact, participation peaked in the early 1990s, when 67 percent of British Columbians over the age of 15 were in the workforce.  This peak was reached even though the unemployment rate at the time was double the current level.  Jobs were harder to find then, but a bigger slice of the population was part of the labour force.    

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Finlayson Op-Ed: Learning to adapt to the growing gig economy (Troy Media)

The rise of the gig or sharing economy is one of the most visible trends shaping the contemporary labour market.

Most gig jobs fall into the category of contingent work. Such work can be contrasted with a traditional job, in which a person has a durable and structured employment relationship with a specific employer. Today, more people are garnering income via contracting, freelancing, temporary assignments and various kinds of on-call arrangements. All of these are part of the broader gig economy.

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Firms in B.C. and Central Canada Report Widespread Capacity Pressures

The Bank of Canada’s Summer Business Outlook Survey provides some interesting insights into the extent of capacity pressures faced by companies across the country

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B.C. Employment by Industry -- The Long View

Following up on our recent blog looking at long-term employment growth by occupation, we now examine which industries have contributed to B.C. employment growth over time.

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B.C. Employment Growth by Occupation -- The Long View

How has the labour market in British Columbia changed over the past thirty years? How has technology reshaped it? What occupations have shown the most and the least employment growth?

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Finlayson Op-Ed: Toward higher costs and less competition in public-sector procurement (Vancouver Sun)

The provincial government is establishing a new framework for developing public-sector infrastructure projects.  Last week, Premier John Horgan and Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claire Trevena released an umbrella “Community Benefits Agreement” (CBA), intended to achieve several objectives:

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Mullen & St-Laurent Op-Ed: Why the workforce gender gap matters to business (Troy Media, Times Colonist & The Hamilton Spectator)

In British Columbia and Canada more broadly, the proportion of females aged 15 and over who participate in the labour force remains nine percentage points below that of males. And it has stayed this way since the early 1990s.

Why does this matter?

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How will Digitalization Affect the Labour Market?

The challenge facing policy-makers – in British Columbia, Canada and globally – is how to maximise the productivity gains of technological progress through digitalization, while taking steps to mitigate its intrinsically-skewed distribution of benefits.

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Toward Higher Costs and Less Competition in Public Sector Procurement

The provincial government is establishing a new framework for developing and sourcing labour to build public-sector infrastructure projects. We see at least two big problems with the government's plan.

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Finlayson & St-Laurent Op-Ed: Young, educated Indigenous talent is ready (Troy Media)

B.C.’s Indigenous population is relatively young, with an average age of 33 compared to 42 for the non-Indigenous population. Even better, a growing proportion of Indigenous have some form of post-secondary education: a degree, a college credential or a trades certificate.

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Finlayson & St-Laurent: Jobs in Demand: B.C.’s Labour Market Outlook to 2027 (PeopleTalk)

If you’re on the lookout for the hottest job trends, WorkBC – an agency of the provincial government -- recently released an updated Labour Market Outlook through to 2027. Over the next decade, the government anticipates 917,000 job openings. Roughly 70 per cent will result from current workers transitioning into retirement. Many of these positions can be filled by younger cohorts of workers, but that won’t be enough to staff all of the vacancies expected to emerge. The other 30 per cent of job openings will arise due to ongoing economic and industrial growth. To fill these positions, the supply of workers will have to be expanded, through immigration, attracting people from other provinces, and tapping into underutilized labour pools.

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Show Me the Money! Earnings by Field of Study and Education Level

As students contemplate their field of study - one consideration might be potential future earnings.

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Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: Housing costs put brakes on migration to B.C. from other provinces (Business in Vancouver & Western Investor)

Over the second half of last year, a surprising development occurred – the net inflow of people moving to B.C. from other provinces fell sharply. The drop showed up in the third quarter and persisted through the final months of 2017. Looking ahead, we suspect that B.C. may receive fewer interprovincial migrants than pundits and policy-makers have been counting on – particularly working-age migrants, as opposed to retirees. If our hunch is correct, employers in B.C. are likely to face more widespread hiring challenges in the years ahead.

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Women and Work: An analysis of the changing B.C. labour market

An analysis of the progress made advancing women in the workforce and areas where there is more to do to enable the full participation of women, particularly in light of shifting demographics and labour markets.

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