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.
Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: Changes to employment law would upset labour market balance (Business in Vancouver)
The BC NDP government’s activist policy agenda continues to keep the B.C. business community on its toes. The latest example is the government’s plan to overhaul the Employment Standards Act (ESA). While the ESA is a relatively low-profile statute, it has significant implications for employers. Among other things, it defines the basic rules governing hours of work, overtime, vacation entitlements and employee terminations for most non-union workplaces in the province.
Peterson & Finlayson Op-Ed: Innovation leading to productivity can dramatically improve our standard of living (The Province)
Worker wages depend in large part on the levels of productivity achieved by companies. Many factors determine how productive businesses are, including firm size — productivity generally increases as companies grow — management strategy, workforce skills and the tools, technologies and equipment available to employees.
Canadian living standards are slipping relative to peer nations: Time for action on productivity
Canadian real GDP per person – a key measure of living standards for the average citizen – has been slipping compared to peer nations over time.
Williams Op-Ed: Career advice for B.C. workers in the age of automation (Times Colonist)
When applying for a job or a promotion, you probably like to know how many other applicants are applying for the same position. For some workers in British Columbia, a new applicant is about to join the field: Mr. Robot.
In a new report, the Business Council of B.C. examines the potential impact of automation across all occupations in the provincial labour market.
An update on B.C.'s fastest growing industries: A diverse group...but resources still prominent
A look at B.C.’s 30 fastest growing industries through the half decade ending in 2017
Finlayson & Peacock Column: LNG Canada atop lists of stories affecting B.C. 2018 economy (Business in Vancouver)
In an environment of rapid economic and political change, further compounded by activist governments at both the federal and provincial levels, identifying 2018’s most significant stories affecting the provincial economy is challenging. Below we take a stab at the task, focusing on developments that we judge to be of particular relevance to B.C.
SUBMISSION: Response to Labour Relations Code Review Panel report
BCBC's response to the report produced by the panel of special advisers appointed by the Minister of Labour to examine the provincial Labour Relations Code.
Finlayson Op-Ed: Are robots coming for your job? (Troy Media)
Will robots soon be replacing humans across broad swaths of the labour market?
Judging by headlines touting driverless cars, machine learning and the rapidly-growing digital economy, one is tempted to answer “Yes.”
No one can doubt the sweeping effects of new technologies. Historically, tens of millions of jobs have been eliminated by successive waves of technology-enabled innovation in industries ranging from agriculture, transportation and manufacturing, to electricity and information and telecommunications services.
A similar process is underway today, fuelled by advances in artificial intelligence (AI), data science, and digital tools and platforms.
Population aging and tax policy
Population aging means governments will need to spend more to support the steadily expanding cohort of seniors.
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.
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.
RESEARCH PAPER: The automation potential of the B.C. 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.
The automation potential of the B.C. 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.
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.
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.
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.
Finlayson Op-Ed: Learning to adapt to the growing gig economy (Troy Media)
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.
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
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.
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?