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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.

Finlayson Op-Ed: Welcome to the "Gig" Economy (People Talk)

The rise of the “gig” or “sharing” economy is one of the most consequential trends shaping the contemporary labour market.  “Gig” jobs are an example of what economists describe as “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 that maintains a permanent (or long-term) workforce.  Today, more people than ever before are generating income via contracting, free-lancing, temporary assignments, and various kinds of on-call arrangements.  All of these forms of non-traditional work are part of the “gig economy.”

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Tapping into a "Motherload" of Opportunity

Women, particularly in the child-rearing years of 20-49 years, are less active than their male peers in the workforce. This particular group of sub-optimally engaged women exemplify “missed opportunity."

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Tapping a "Motherload" of Opportunity: How BC Can Gain From More Accessible Childcare

Women, particularly in the child-rearing years, are less active than their male peers in the workforce. The correlation between child-rearing and labour force participation is not coincidental.

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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.

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New Regional Effort Aims to Establish Cascadia Innovation Corridor

British Columbia and Washington leaders come together to strengthen collaboration, create cross-border opportunity

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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.

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Labour Market Adaptation in the Age of Automation

As disruptive technologies push the frontiers of automation and encroach on some of the advantages that humans have been thought to possess over machines, the way we work is being transformed.

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“I have a master’s degree...but I’m serving sushi.”

Despite hard work and best efforts, the majority of fresh-faced graduates experience a delayed entry into career-oriented jobs, find themselves underemployed—or both. Very rarely are young graduates told what they actually need to be prepared for in the contemporary job market.

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Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: Business input vital to immigration system’s economic success (Business in Vancouver)

There are currently 4.7 million people living in B.C. Over the past 20 years, our population has risen by 908,000. Back in 1995, the population was growing at an annual rate of 2.8%, based on strong net interprovincial migration, international migration, and a relatively high rate of natural increase (births minus deaths). Now, the population is increasing by 1% annually, which is higher than the Canadian average but slower than in decades past.

In the next 20 years, our population is projected to expand by 1.14 million. Natural population growth dwindles after 2015 and approaches zero by 2030. At that point, B.C.’s population will be rising solely due to net in-migration from other provinces and countries. Of the two sources of in-migrants, international immigration will have a bigger role in determining B.C.’s demographic and economic future. Thus, it is more important than ever that immigration policy is aligned with our economic needs. Unfortunately, based on some initial actions by the Justin Trudeau government, it appears that economic considerations will carry less weight in immigration decisions.

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Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto: Automation and the Future of Jobs

The way we work is changing. Many traditional jobs that developed over the last century are at high risk of being automated within the next 10 to 20 years. Some recent research suggests nearly 42% of the Canadian labour force may be affected in this way by 2035. The same percentage, 42%, also applies to the proportion of “tasks” performed today by paid employees that could be automated using existing technologies.

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Off to Work: Improving the School-to-Work Transition for Recent University Graduates

Human capital is maximized when a worker’s qualifications and skills match those required by their job. Delayed PSE school-to-work transitions may help to explain Canada’s lacklustre productivity growth.

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Linking the Education System with the Changing Nature of Work

The Canadian education system is struggling to keep up-to-date with a dynamic and unsettled economic landscape and the prospect of disruptive transformations in the job market.

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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.

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Population Growth Varies Widely Across BC

In recent years BC’s population has expanded roughly in line with national population growth.  Between 2011 and 2015 the number of BC residents rose at an average annual pace of 1.0%, essentially the same as Canada.  Alberta led the way, with the number of people living in that province surging at an average rate of 2.6% over the past four years.  Population growth in Saskatchewan (1.5%) and Manitoba (1.2%) also outpaced BC.  Population growth rates in BC and Ontario have been virtually identical.

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An Update on Union Density in BC

After tracking Canadian density rates for a number of years, overall union density in BC has now moved visibly below the national benchmark.

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Projections Point to Balanced Labour Market Conditions in BC

The BC Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training recently released its updated labour market projections.

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Labour Mobility an Essential Feature of Canada's Regional Labour Markets

Canada’s labour market is dynamic. People move freely across provincial borders for a mix of reasons, including varying economic and labour market conditions. Given Canada’s vast geography and differing industrial structures across the provinces, the ability of people to migrate to other regions is an essential element of the Canadian “common market.”

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Labour Market Conditions Ease in the Prairie Provinces But Tighten in BC

Labour market conditions in Western Canada have changed significantly in the past year or so. Amid the dramatic fall in oil prices and generally soft prices for many other key commodities, the ranks of the unemployed have increased in all three Prairie Provinces in recent quarters. Consistent with a rise in unemployment, the number of job vacancies in each of the three Prairie provinces has dwindled. In BC, however, these labour market metrics have been the reverse: the number of unemployed has remained stable or edged down while job vacancies have climbed.

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Labour Demand and Supply in Canada: The Big Picture

Concerns over labour shortages continue to be voiced by some leading employer organizations. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and the Conference Board are among the groups that have identified shortfalls in the supply of workers as a priority public policy issue. Some individual industry sectors – from trucking to construction, the IT industry, mining, and the electricity sector, among many others – have produced reports that highlight current or projected national-level worker shortages in certain occupations. Such sentiments are also common among employers here in British Columbia.

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Business Alert: No Change in WorkSafeBC Average Premiums for 2016

WorkSafeBC recently announced that the average “base premium rate” in 2016 will be unchanged from 2015, continuing the pattern from last year. The average rate charged to employers is being set at $1.70 per $100 of assessed payroll, exactly the same as in 2015. 

This should come as welcome news for the employer community, particularly in light of a seeming onslaught of government-mandated and/or policy-driven cost increases in so many other areas (Medical Services Plan premiums, fuel taxes, electricity rates, water rental charges, environmental assessment fees, etc.).

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