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Provincial Government

BC’s provincial government has a key role to play in shaping the province’s economy. Taxation, access to natural resources, transportation, education and skills development, environmental regulation, labour rules and many other social programs all fall under the provincial government’s jurisdiction. The Council conducts research and analysis on all these topics and regularly contributes to public-policy development at the provincial level.


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.

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Budget 2019 delivers some promising program spending but little to address B.C.'s deteriorating competitiveness

The Business Council is concerned that policy-makers are underplaying signs of softening growth globally and in North America. Increasing costs, an inability to advance major projects, and significant uncertainty for investors and firms looking to expand are eroding confidence and overall competitiveness in B.C.

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Release: Business leaders offer mixed views on 2019 B.C. Budget

Today’s Budget points to higher program spending amid a slowing economy and an increasingly challenging environment for many B.C. companies. Some of the new spending commitments hold promise but taken together will “bake in” a higher level of government costs on a going-forward basis. At the same time, the Budget contains little that will strengthen the province’s economic fundamentals or improve our competitive position over the medium-term.

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Comments on the NDP government’s “CleanBC” plan

The challenges of energy transformation envisaged by CleanBC are significant.

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Tax Breaks: A lesson in foregone revenue

A new report by B.C.’s Auditor General calls on political decision-makers to pay more attention to all types of government spending – particularly indirect spending that’s actually undertaken via tax policy.

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So far, so good...but proceed with caution: An update on B.C.'s fiscal picture

Last month, B.C. Finance Minister Carole James wrapped up the NDP’s first full financial year and provided an update on the government’s books through the first quarter of 2018-2019. Here’s what you should know.

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SUBMISSION in advance of the 2019 Provincial Budget

The Business Council's submission to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services in advance of the 2019 Provincial Budget.

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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 Op-Ed: 'Clean growth' is a nice idea, but policymakers shouldn't forget what really makes B.C. money (The Province)

Policymakers in Victoria have a lot more work to do if they are interested in strengthening the province’s export economy.

The provincial NDP government has pledged to develop a “clean growth strategy” to position the province for continued prosperity in a world where demand is increasing for products and technologies that reduce the impact of human activity on the environment. With a carbon-free electricity system and an array of local companies in the “clean tech” space, B.C. has some of the ingredients necessary for clean growth. But amid their enthusiasm for developing new industries, policymakers also need to pay close attention to the industries that pay the bills today.

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Finlayson & Peacock op-ed: Growing tax burden hurts B.C. business competitiveness (Business in Vancouver)

In many sectors of our economy, the cost of operating a business has risen significantly over the past several years due to provincial government policy decisions. For a typical business, the most visible government-driven cost increases have come via higher (and in some cases new) taxes and fees. Below we briefly discuss the most salient examples.

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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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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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Where Does the Money Come From? The B.C. Government’s Top Revenue Sources

Where exactly does the province get the vast sums required to pay for the services and programs it provides or supports?

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An Update on Government Finances

With the national economy having reached potential, now is not a propitious time for governments to be running fiscal deficits. Yet, collectively, they are doing just that.

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RELEASE: Professional Reliance Review Report Provides Solutions Looking for a Problem

The Business Council of British Columbia has significant concerns with the recently released Professional Reliance Review Report which has offered a series of recommendations related to the province’s professional reliance model.

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RELEASE: BCBC welcomes important step in advancing LNG in B.C.

The Business Council of British Columbia today welcomes news of a Fiscal Framework Agreement between the Province of B.C. and LNG Canada. The completion of this agreement signals an important step towards the realization of a major LNG project in the province and the largest infrastructure project in Canada’s history – a project that promises to generate lasting economic benefits for all British Columbians.

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Pros and Cons of the NDP's Housing Plan

In Budget 2018, the NDP government unveiled a 30-point housing plan intended to address concerns about housing affordability. We believe that housing policy should be driven by the needs of the local population but there are problems with the government's overall approach.

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Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: New age of activist governments driving up cost of doing business (Business in Vancouver)

Welcome to a new era of activist government.

In the last two years, both the federal and provincial governments have outlined more ambitious policy agendas. Each has ramped up spending on social services and income support programs, laying the foundations for a larger public sector. The drumbeat of regulatory change has become deafening as governments initiate multiple policy reviews and move to reshape environmental assessment and permitting rules, energy regulations and standards, the legal frameworks governing employment and labour relations, minimum wages, housing market policies, apprenticeships and much else besides.

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Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: Budget’s higher business costs dim B.C. investment prospects

The first full budget unveiled by the BC NDP government offers a mix of higher spending, tax hikes on business and significant commitments to expand child care and address concerns over housing affordability and real estate speculation.

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BC Budget 2018 - Higher Business Taxes Plus Additional Spending Measures

Many B.C. businesses will be scrambling to adjust to significantly higher payroll costs.

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