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Trade, Productivity & Competitiveness

BC’s ability to adapt to a rapidly changing world economy will depend on how well we can find new ways of doing business, adopt new ideas and practices, and connect with new trading partners. The Council encourages public policies that support research and innovation, business practices that increase productivity, connections that open new trading opportunities, and processes to commercialize BC’s best research.

BC's Manufacturing Sector is Growing...But Faces Competitiveness Challenges

Manufacturing is a growth story for the BC economy over the last 10 years and is punching above its weight in terms of our export portfolio, generating new income for the provincial economy. The latest Policy Perspectives, details economic facts, figures and trends, as well as sectoral breakdowns and cross provincial comparisons, relevant to BC’s $50 billion resource and non-resource manufacturing activities. It also provides some cautionary advice relative to key competitive headwinds facing this element of our economy - which makes up 7% of provincial GDP and over 170,000 jobs.

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BCBC on Premier Horgan's "Crisis of Confidence"

"This is no longer about a pipeline project or whether one supports or opposes the legal movement of energy in Canada....this is a referendum on whether British Columbia is open to investment and whether a legal enterprise can, with any confidence, invest, build and operate a business within the province and the country."

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PRESENTATION: Economic Update @ COFI by Jock Finlayson

BCBC Chief Policy Officer and Executive Vice President, Jock Finlayson presented on April 5th to the Annual Council of Forest Industries (COFI) convention in Prince George. He discussed the contribution of the B.C. forest industry to the national and provincial economies, as well as competitiveness challenges facing Canada's natural resource sectors and businesses across our diverse economy.

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Op-Ed: Trade deal good for B.C. and province's forestry industry (Vancouver Sun)

For over 250 years, British Columbia’s entrepreneurs, skilled workers and communities have contributed to a growing and successful forestry industry. B.C.’s renewable timberland resource has generated economic wealth and improved our collective prosperity for generations, while setting the global benchmark for sustainable forestry practices. Only one per cent of B.C. forest land is harvested annually, with three trees planted for each one that is harvested. Today, the sector is also playing a significant role in reconciliation with Indigenous communities.

We often associate forestry with B.C.’s rural communities, supporting jobs, local businesses, and community facilities. That is entirely true, but it is also one of B.C.’s largest urban employers. People in the Lower Mainland pursue forestry-related careers within an array of small and large businesses working in professional services, transportation, equipment manufacturing and technology among others. Rural and urban, B.C. forestry is a vital contributor to our prosperity.

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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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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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Finlayson & Peacock: Avoiding a deficit should be a BC NDP coalition budget priority (Business in Vancouver)

Some cautionary advice for Minister Carole James heading into the NDP Government's first full budget.

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Buoyant Job Market in Metro Vancouver

Metro Vancouver's job market has been firing on all cylinders. In the last two years, the number of people employed in the area has jumped by more than 100,000.

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Statement from BCBC on Increasing Risks to BC's Investment Climate

In response to the Provincial Government’s announcement that it intends to restrict the movement of diluted bitumen through the province, Greg D’Avignon, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Business Council of British Columbia, has released the following statement:

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Presentation: Competitive Landscape of BC's Natural Resource Sectors

Check out Jock Finlayson's presentation to the 2018 BC Natural Resources Forum on the economic contributions of resources to BC's economy - and the risks to the sectors' competitiveness.

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Finlayson & Peacock Op Ed: U.S. tax reforms set to remake competitive landscape for Canada (Business in Vancouver)

As finance ministers across Canada start putting the finishing touches on their 2018 budgets, they are sure to be casting a nervous glance to the south. In late December, the U.S. Congress approved – and President Donald Trump signed – a package of tax reforms and rate reductions that amounts to the biggest overhaul of America’s tax system in four decades. The changes are numerous and complex. For policy-makers and business leaders in Canada, the new reality of U.S. taxation heralds a significant shift in the competitive landscape.

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Three economic predictions for 2018

What does 2018 have in store on the economic front? We offer these three predictions.

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BCBC in 2017: Advancing Ideas and Actions....

In the final days of 2017, we’ve taken a moment to review the 119 publications, submissions to government, opinion editorials and blogs produced by the team at the Business Council of British Columbia. In addition to highlighting our major works, we’ve put together a compilation which revisits the most popular pieces and provides an overview of the range of issues that have garnered attention this year. 

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Finlayson Op-Ed: Cloud of NAFTA uncertainty looms over B.C. horizon (Business in Vancouver)

The coming year promises to be an eventful one for the B.C. business community. While our economy continues to grow at a decent pace, business leaders need to brace themselves for the bumpy road that lies ahead. 

Perhaps the biggest unknown concerns the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) – and what happens in Canada’s relationship with our principal ally and trading partner, now under the erratic stewardship of President Donald Trump.

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D'Avignon & Finlayson Op-Ed: The CPTPP represents significant opportunity for the Canadian economy (Vancouver Sun)

BCBC reminds the Prime Minister to not lose sight of a more imminent opportunity: completion of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), previously known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Participating in the CPTPP would expand Canada’s existing network of trade and investment agreements, support efforts to diversify our trade, and allow Canadian businesses and workers to secure improved access to growing foreign markets in the Asia-Pacific region.

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BCBC Statement on Provincial Government Decision to Complete Site C

We wish to recognize Premier Horgan and his cabinet colleagues for their decision today to proceed with the completion of the Site C dam. Once operational, this generational asset will provide clean, firm power within a basket of renewable assets that will support our province’s growing low-carbon commodity and energy exports in a world hungry for what BC produces. This is the right decision for British Columbia and Canada’s energy and climate future.

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Finlayson & Mullen Op-Ed: Fossil fuels remain key to energy future, according to report (Troy Media)

The International Energy Agency’s Annual World Energy Outlook 2017 was released in early November.  It provides a useful update on the shift to a lower carbon global energy system. The stepped-up deployment of clean energy technologies and moves towards electrification continue in many nations.  At the same time, rising investment in energy efficiency is lessening the need for supply additions.  However, fossil fuels still represent the bulk of global energy production and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

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Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: How government can help build bigger businesses in B.C. (Business in Vancouver)

To build a more prosperous economy, new businesses have to be created and some existing firms must grow. The business world is characterized by a high degree of “churn,” with many new entrants together with lots of exits and diverse patterns of expansion and contraction among the pool of surviving companies. Many new firms don’t have a long shelf life. About half close their doors within five years. Of those that hit the five-year mark, most never reach the 50-employee level.

But those that do grow swiftly tend to make disproportionate contributions to our economy. This is partly because as businesses expand, they become more productive – and therefore, on average, pay higher wages. In addition, as firms grow, they are more likely to export and to take advantage of the economies of scale that come from doing business beyond local markets.

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